Whitehaven RLFC 34 - 20 Newcastle Thunder

Whitehaven RLFC 34 - 20 Newcastle Thunder thunder.champmodel.dyndns.info

7th May 2017

Newcastle Thunder fell at the final hurdle against Whitehaven RLFC on Sunday afternoon, after a dogged performance had put them in position to make a return to winning ways in West Cumbria.

Handling errors and a high penalty count against had allowed Thunder’s hosts to enjoy more of the possession and territory, but excellent defence and seizing opportunities when they presented themselves allowed Thunder to remain in contention up until the closing minutes.

A tentative opening saw both sides making handling errors and preventing any real fluidity from entering into the game, while a succession of penalties against Thunder were allowing Whitehaven to remain entrenched in their oppositions half.

It was a mark of how scrappy the start of the game was that it took 12 minutes until the scoreboard was first troubled, with Elliot Miller crossing for the visitors following a clever shift play that created space for player coach Carl Forster to attack, before shipping the ball on to his team-mate.

Successfully converted, it was a similar story for Thunder’s opening score of the game as Benn Hardcastle put Ali Blair in for his fifth League 1 try of the season before adding the extras to make it six all.

The hosts quickly resumed the lead though as an error off the restart handed possession back to them from which they worked an opportunity for Jordan Burns and were 14-6 up as half time approached when Haven captain Scott McAvoy exploited space created as Thunder held off in defence.

Amends were quickly made though following a penalty against the hosts and a nicely worked try was taken by co-captain Rhys Clarke after a great offload from Lewis Young, finished off by a superb touchline conversion from Hardcastle.

Despite starting the second forty stronger, Haven extended their lead to eight points on 48 minutes as Thunder failed to defuse a dangerous grubber kick and Scott McAvoy pounced on for another converted try.

Blair secured his brace as the hour mark approached with an interception try converted by Hardcastle and when the half-back was presented with a long range penalty effort to square up the scores, the club’s record point’s scorer made no mistake.

With their tails up and playing some attractive rugby, with Evan Simons proving to be a particular nuisance, Thunder could smell blood, although errors at the crucial moment were again thwarting their efforts.

A solo try for Whitehaven’s Forster nudged the hosts back ahead with nine minutes to go, before a penalty of their own soon after re-established an eight point cushion over Thunder.

Trying to get back on terms, the final word went the way of the hosts, with a converted try that added gloss onto the result and leaves Thunder facing some must win games in the coming weeks.

Newcastle Thunder squad

Derrell Olphers, Ali Blair, Joe Brown, Tyler Craig, Peter Fox, Lewis Young, Benn Hardcastle, Vincent Rennie, Evan Simons, Rhys Clarke, Lee Paterson,Dan Parker, Liam McAvoy, Danny Nicklas, Matty Barron, Sam Luckley, Josh Stoker

Try Scorers: Blair (21, 58) Clarke (40)

Goal Scorers: Hardcastle (21, 40, 58, 62)

Whitehaven RLFC squad

Elliot Miller, Craig Calvert, Jessie Joe Parker, Chris Taylor, Jordan Burns, Ste Roper, Paul Crook, Marc Shackley, Tyrone Dalton, Carl Forster, Connor Holliday, Scott McAvoy, James Tilley, Glenn Riley, James Newton, Dave Thompson, Tommy Holland

Try Scorers: Miller (12) Burns (25) McAvoy (37, 48) Forster (70) Crook (75)

Goal Scorers: Crook (12, 48, 70, 72, 75)

Whitehaven RLFC 34 - 20 Newcastle Thunder thunder.champmodel.dyndns.info