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Wednesday, 26 November 2014

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Penrith hammer Workington to line up cup final with Carlisle

Relegation-threatened Penrith had a break from their league campaign and found solace once more in the Cumbria Cup.

Jon Fell photo
Jon Fell

Winners for the last three years, Penrith moved through to another final against Carlisle when they beat visiting Workington 61-21 at Winters Park.

The west Cumbrians play two levels below their hosts in the league structure but had no intention of letting that bother them as they gave their hosts a difficult afternoon.

The game went pretty much as would be expected, Workington came and showed an awful lot of determination and grit in the forward battle and more than matched the Penrith pack.

Where they fell short was when the game was opened out, where Penrith just had too much ability and speed behind the scrum. Former Zebras’ star Mike Hawley and the Fell brothers in particular had pace to burn.

The first half was to be one of attrition, the home side kept getting their noses in front only to be repeatedly pegged back.

Penrith opened their account early as the Fell boys combined for the opening score.

Hawley, in a rare game at outside half, found Jon with a miss pass at outside centre. He held the ball and his timing was perfect as he found Phil hitting the line from full back. His break ended with him cutting back inside the cover to score under the posts.

Within a couple of minutes the visitors were also on the score sheet with a penalty from John Chisnall.

Penrith hit back with a second try. Mike Stephens tidied up a loose ball in midfield, drove on and found James Sanderson who fed Hawley and his pace took him away from the cover to score.

Workington again came back with an easy penalty for Chisnall and then with another tougher one, just short of half way to pull back to 12-9.

After the home side missed a penalty shot of their own and Ed Swale went close to scoring from a quickly taken penalty on half way, the Zebras took the lead.

They were struggling to make ground in open play but two penalty awards in succession saw them make progress up the touchline into the Penrith 22.

They then successfully battered the home line using their big men up front and forced a score in the corner from Jordan Stainton to go ahead.

But Penrith soon had their noses back in front. A quickly taken lineout following a long clearance enabled then to run the ball back. A couple of forward drives sucked in the cover and when the ball came to Hawley he made the half break, before putting Jon Fell away. He stepped back inside the cover to score under the posts.

The half-time score of 19-14 to Penrith was just about a true reflection of what had gone on.

The second half was a very different affair as the home side cut loose. Workington had to bring on some inexperienced replacements after top forward David Bowe suffered a foot injury and centre Matthew Gorley also had to retire.

Steve Wood was next on the score sheet. On as a replacement at inside centre he took a short ball off Hawley on the visitor’s 22, got in behind the first line of defence and stepped the last man with ease for the try.

Ten minutes into the second half and Penrith put the game out of reach. Workington lost the ball on their own 22 where it came to Hawley who was again the provider. He made the break and then fed the ball back inside for Phil Fell to romp in.

Workington though, never laid down for the whole 80 minutes and scored again through their forwards. Their driving play took them to the home line and Penrith were penalised in their attempt to kill the ball.

The tap was taken quickly and the home defence was caught unawares with an easy try claimed by Chisnall.

The next score came again with the away side again on the attack. Bede O’Connor was away and chipped for the corner, where Joe Nattrass and Phil Fell’s scrambling defence secured the ball.

It was quickly spun across the home try line to Jon Fell wide on the left who showed a clean pair of heels and ran the full length of the field to score a stunning try. One or two tacklers looked as if they might just get to him but his out and out speed was just too much.

Workington still attacked but with rather more desperation.

A wild pass was thrown out and Wood took the interception with ease and sprinted in from half way.

It was then the Phil Fell show as he completed his hat trick and grabbed a fourth.

The final score came when Hawley chased a Wood chip into the visitor’s 22. He rather over ran it but then got a boot on it, it ricocheted and fell to who else but Phil Fell for his fourth score and a welcome nine try win.

Workington had played their part in an entertaining afternoon’s rugby in a good physical encounter with some thrilling movement and offensive running.

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