Come Back gets Nipped
By "Stan Martin"
Whitehaven 32 - 10 Sheffield
WHITEHAVEN maintained touch with Northern Ford Premiership leaders
Huddersfield Giants thanks to a comfortable win over Sheffield
Eagles at the Recreation Ground.
Haven never let the visiting Eagles settle into any sort of rhythm,
hammering their runners with awesome defensive work and then
driving strongly with the ball in hand.
Sheffield actually had the best of a scrappy opening five minutes
but from the moment a sharp step from Leroy Joe allowed Haven
captain David Seeds to crash over for his ninth try of the season
there was only ever going to be one winner. Paul O'Neil just
wide with the conversion and Haven led 4-0 after eight minutes.
Sheffield did all they could to try and get back on terms with
centre Richard Goddard busy and Jon Bruce running well in the
forwards. However, there was no invention from the Sheffield
half backs and Whitehaven were content to tackle all afternoon.
It came as no surprise when, on 16 minutes, Chris McKinney found
his way over for the home side's second score. Joe was again
involved in the move as Haven kept the ball alive deep in the
visitors half before McKinney crashed over the whitewash. O'Neil
added the extras.
Whitehaven would have been
well worth a ten point half-time lead but stretched their advantage
right on the hooter.
Garry Purdham broke well before feeding winger Paul O'Neil who
went over in the corner, before converting the effort himself
to give Whitehaven a 16-0 half time lead. At half time there
seemed no way back for the Eagles but after a solid first 15
minutes of the second period they showed the crowd that they
were still in the game, Goddard, clearly the best player in the
Eagles' team, did the hard work before putting Paul Wells in
for the simplest of touch downs. Gavin Brown missed the conversion.
Two minutes later the Eagles were right back in the match when
Goddard again was involved in setting up a try, this time for
Ian Thompson. Brown was successful with his kick and with 24
minutes still to play and the visitors trailing by just six points
the game was there for the taking. However Whitehaven regrouped
and, with full back Wesley Wilson screaming instructions and
encouragement at his team-mates, they held out for a few minutes
of further Sheffield pressure.
The Eagles then threw it away as Goddard talked a penalty on
the halfway line into one 30 meters from his own line -- well
within range for O'Neil who stretched Haven's lead to eight points.
Sheffield heads then went down and once referee Colin Morris
had disallowed a Billy Kershaw try for double movement the game
was over bar the shouting. Leroy Joe was again involved as Whitehaven
scored a fourth try, this time from Greame Morton, to make the
score 22-10 as the game entered its last ten minutes.
A clever kick from Joe put winger Mark Wallace in for an unconverted
try five minutes from time and Joe was again involved as Phil
Sherwen burst through to cap a fine all round display with the
closing try right on the hooter. O'Neil added the extras. Sheffield
played with a lot of passion and power but just did not have
enough in their arsenal to unlock a resolute Haven defence enough
times to give themselves a chance.
Teams: Whitehaven; Wesley Wilson, Paul O'Neil, David Seeds (C),
Howard Hill, Mark Wallace, Leroy Joe, Steve Kirkbride, Phil Sherwen,
Marc Jackson, Dean Vaughan, Spencer Miller, Chris McKinney, Garry
Purdham. Subs (all used) Aaron Lester, Gary Smith, Greame Morton,
Tony Cunningham. Sheffield; Andy Poynter, Paul Wells, Neil Kite,
Richard Goddard, Ian Thompson, Gavin Brown, Darren Callaghan,
Jack Howieson, Gareth Dobson, Jon Bruce, Billy Kershaw, Andy
Brent, Wayne Flynn. Subs (all used) Scott Roach, Guy Adams, Lee
Trasler, Wayne Freeman. Ref, Colin Morris.