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Saturday, 20 December 2014

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Wigton hammer Blackburn to march on in North Lancs Cumbria league

It was a fairly routine day at the office for Wigton with a comfortable 45-5 win over visitors Blackburn in North Lancs Cumbria.

Wigton RU Andy Brown photo
Andy Brown

Captain Matthew Atkinson stole the headlines with a four try haul to take him to thirty for the season so far.

Wigton’s first try came in the fourth minute from a familiar driven maul. Atkinson, having failed to get in the correct position for a couple of these recently, came up with the ball to show that normal service was resumed. Ali Ledingham converted.

In the 14th minute a big tackle by Richard Moffatt in the centre knocked the ball loose. Atkinson was on hand to show some footballing skills to dribble the ball over the try line but it was Gregg Smith who showed his pace to win the race for the touchdown, his sixteenth of the season.

With Wigton dominating play, the next try came in the eighteenth minute when an in-form Ali Ledingham made a scorching break as width was put on the ball. He found David Hanabury in support with the scoring pass and then converted.

On the half hour mark Atkinson added another try from a maul which was converted for a. 26-0 interval lead.

In the second half, Wigton returned to the attack putting plenty of pace into the game. A free kick was quickly taken and released to Atkinson who completed his hat trick by carrying three defenders over the line with him from close range. It was converted.

The sixth try was initiated by a great break from Mark Deans. Excellent handling ensured continuity. On the edge of the Blackburn 22, Ali Ledingham produced an immaculately timed pass to give winger Will Miller a 20-metre run to the line for an unconverted try.

The next score in the 57th minute was up there with the season’s best so far. Eventual Man of the Match Andy Brown won a turnover as Blackburn tried to drive a maul to the line, setting up a sweeping ninety metre counter attack.

The ball was moved wide with Moffatt, Smith and Callum Studholme combining to attack down the left flank. The ball was quickly recycled and moved right where Miller showed his strength, breaking two tackles and offloading to Deans. He gave the last pass to the supporting Atkinson who grabbed his fourth. Ledingham added a touchline conversion.

It would have been easy for Blackburn to fold at this point but they were rallied by player coach Lowden to avoid a whitewash and played their best rugby of the game.

Inspired by their Man of the Match, half back Sean Hall, they came battling back. Theo Colman threatened with two strong carries down the left flank and it took a great tackle from John Story to deny veteran Damo Miller as he tried to burst over from close range.

Their consolation finally came when a dropped midfield pass was hacked on and alert open side flanker Norton Johnston won the race to touch down.

Keswick and Workington were desperate for points for different reasons when they clashed at Davidson Park.

Injury hit Keswick have been falling like a stone and after their 21-9 defeat by the Zebras are just five points clear of the third relegation place. Wotkington, by contrast, have lifted their game of late and currently stand fourth but just with a very slim chance of making the play-offs.

It was a scrappy affair with the result in doubt until Phil Armstrong scored his secobnd try of the game for the Zebras in the last minuite.

The forwards had driven to the try line and then when the ball was whipped out smartly Armstrong did the rest.

Workington’s forwards had dominated the opening quarter, pressing the Keswick line for long periods but the home defence was superb, refusing to yield.

All Workington could show for their dimination of posession and territory was a 20th minute penalty by John Chisnall.

Al;though Keswick came back for a while the first try did go to Workington on 31 minutes. Artmstyrong was there to fionish-off a blindside move with the touchdown and Chisnall added the extras.

Five minutes before half-time Keswick reduced the rrears with a penalty by Brian Storey after Armstrong had beenn sent to the sin-bin.

Keswick had already had Carrick Wharmby tellow-carded and in the second-half Workington suffered two further sin-binnings with Chris Tweddle (67 mins) and Rob Scott (78 mins) ordered off for ten minutes apiece.

Keswick gradually got themselves back into the game with two more Storey penalties and at 9-10 the League points were in the balance.

But Workington hit back with two Chisnall penalties in the 59th and 64th minutes and agonisingly for Keswick they lost the bonus point when Armstrong scored his second try right at the end.

Whitehaven scored a crucial 28-13 win at second-bottom Didsbury Toc H to dramatically improve their own survival chances.

The Copeland derby between Egremont and St. Benedict’s was postponed because of a mix-up with the referee.

The appointed official was not, in fact, available to take charge and no replacement could be found in time. The game will now be played on Easter Saturday, March 30.

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