Saturday 26th January 2019r
Workington 17 -
It was a grim day in Workington (when isn't it?) that greeted the Furness 16 on Saturday afternoon for their second versus third encounter. The game kicked off with Furness having the benefit of the wind and rain blowing in off the Irish Sea, however, it looked like it was going to be heavy going against a very big Workington pack that appeared to be ideally suited to the conditions. The good news was that Chairman Reid managed to wriggle out of his linesman's duties when the ref asked if he would mind if his grandson ran the line. Reidy very generously relinquished his flag, spending the rest of the afternoon in the relative tranquility of the stand and the dug out.
The first five minutes of the game was evenly balanced but then came the first scrum which gave Furness a flavour of what they were going to be up against. The large Workington pack easily controlled its own scrum ball and put Furness under severe pressure on their own put in. If Furness weren't pushed off the ball, the ball that came back was untidy and difficult to control. Ten minutes into the game saw a Workington scrum five metres from the Furness line and it was no surprise to see their number 8 pick up and fall over the line for the first try of the day. The attempted conversion unsurprisingly fell short.
Despite their difficulties in the set piece Furness were giving a good account of themselves in the loose putting in tackle after tackle and disrupting the home side's rhythm. It was a missed tackle out wide however that enabled Workington's right winger to squeeze over in the corner after 25 minutes for their second try of the afternoon. Workington 10 Furness 0. There then followed a good spell of Furness pressure and only a dropped ball prevented Furness from crossing for a try of their own. To be fair, as the conditions worsened handling errors became more and more frequent on both sides. Half time arrived with a few minutes still on the clock but no one was grumbling!
The start of the second half saw Furness drop another ball with the line begging, but the game soon reverted to type with the Workington pack driving the ball in and the Furness pack repelling them. It wasn't pretty to watch but after twenty or so minutes of stalemate Workington went over for their third try of the afternoon from a five metre scrum. With the wind behind him the Workington kicker slotted the conversion to make it Workington 17 Furness 0 with twenty minutes left on the clock. Workington were now chasing the fourth, and bonus point, try and Furness might have been forgiven for capitulating at this stage however they continued to fight for every ball. Just when it seemed that Workington might have succeeded, winger Alex Brown managed to dislodge the ball from the Workington centre's hands as he was about to ground it. The ref had seen enough and blew his whistle for the end of the game.
Not an easy game for the blues but one from which they can take heart. Their defence and commitment were superb throughout and no one took a backward step. In the absence of a recognised stand off kicking was an issue throughout and it soon developed into a competition between Joe and Will Mallinson as to who could miss touch the most. It wasn't all doom and gloom however as Joe Mallinson was rewarded with man of the match for Furness and Dan Speers won the raffle -