Over the last few years with both sides being in relegation fights the phrase “Biggest derby in years” has been thrown about but now with both sides currently occupying the bottom two in the championship with only two regular league meetings left, you would be forgiven nothing else matters when these two West Cumbrian sides do battle on Sunday Afternoon.
Workington breathed new live into their season and their fight for survival as a last minute touchline conversion from Jarrod Sammut secured Town’s first victory in almost two months and only their second victory at home this season. Matty Gee was the try scorer who secured the victory for Town. They were 6-14 down at half time but second half tries Karl Olstrom, Tee Ritson and Gee’s game winning effort made sure they reduced the gap to neighbours Whitehaven to four points but are still seven points from safety.
Whitehaven had a sunday to forget as they travelled to Osdal to take on Bradford Bulls and it seemed like they never got of the bus as the half time score of 52-0 to the Bulls turned out to be a world record score for any side winning at the break. The home side score NINE first half tries with eight goals to secure their massive margin at the break and it looked to be getting even worse and the Bulls carried on their performance early on in the second half. They scored two tries in the opening six minutes of the second half and at 64-0 it looked ominous. But Haven responded with three tries of their own in the second half and competed with the Bulls for the final 25 minutes in which departing coach James Coyle must have been wondering where it had been from the start, to make Haven’s weekend even worse was that the sides above them – Sheffield & Oldham secured important victories.
These two sides have met twice in the league season. Good Friday and the Summer bash where Haven come out on top on both occasions. They won 24-16 at the Recreation Ground on Good Friday and then in front of the TV cameras they won 28-24 in Blackpool.
Workington’s 19 man squad – J.Murphy, Hulme, Mossop, Forber, Doran, Mattinson, Shackley, B.Phillips, McAvoy, C.Phillips, Olstrum, Walker, Verlinden, Scholey, Gordon, Ritson, Gee, Patrick, Sammut
Whitehaven’s 19 man squad – T.Coyle, Yates, Calvert, Taylor, Allen, Perez, Gore, Duffy, Newton, Brocklebank, T.Chapelhow, Davies, Riley, Carberry, Fox, Burns, Aiye, Holliday, Ince.
Prediction – Haven by 2. Whitehaven haven’t won at their nearest neighbours since 2008 but will be looking to bounce back from that huge defeat last week. It will be a tight game as derby game should always be on a tight pitch. Form can go out of the window when your nearest and dearest meet.