Action pictures can be purchased from photographer Mike McKenzie
Haven 14- Catalan Dragons 24 (4-12)
May 13 2007
Haven were not intimidated by a bigger Superleague outfit and fought back to a respectable final scoreline. Haven tries from Calvert, Rob Jackson and Maden.
The Dragons won this cup encounter but never established a big lead. Ref. B.Thaler. Gate 3,008. The squad proved that the Doncaster showing was out of character. Scorers for Catalans were Bosc,Duport,Mogg and Bentley. Stacy Jones and Mogg were constant threats that were frequently snuffed out by Haven.
The visitors looked to put a stamp on the game from their, and when Murphy raced away down the right wing from the very next set it looked like being a long afternoon for Haven.
Murphy left three tacklers standing but Calvert carried on chasing, somehow managing to haul his opposite number down agonisingly close to the Haven line. Murphy threw a pass back inside as Calvert tackled him, but the ball bounced forward to let the home side off the hook.
That was the first taste of Calvert's pace for Murphy and on 12 minutes he got his second, a kick behind from Duffy looked comfortable enough for Murphy but Calvert chased hard and forced the Australian to knock the ball dead. For all Haven's effort it was still the Dragon's who looked most likely to score, and it took an amazing ball steal from Steve Trindall on Greg Mounis to save a certain try under the Haven posts. Trindall would have done well just to make the tackle, but emerged with the ball and allowed the home team to clear their lines.
On 20 minutes the Dragon's should have scored again. Jones sold a dummy and ran clean through the middle of the star-struck Haven defence. Faced with an advancing Broadbent Jones inexplicably ignored Alex Chan on his left shoulder and opted to chip the ball over the Haven full-back. As Jones and Broadbent collided Chan was left on his own with the line begging, but somehow managed to let the bouncing ball slip through his huge hands -- another let off.
That seemed to spark Haven into life. They had been brave and hard-working from the kick-off, but suddenly they seemed to realise that the best way to beat their Super League opponents was to take them on, and inventive spark quickly developed. Steve Maden tried a cheeky chip of his own on half way, the ball bounced back to a Catalan man but the force of the tackle Maden then put in dislodged the ball and gave the home side another set. Catalans were rocked, and further so when Kane Bentley was sent to the sin bin on 22 minutes for interference at the play-the-ball. Haven were having their best spell, proving beyond any doubt that they could live with the Dragons and were more then worthy opponents.
Derry Eilbeck had what looked a try chalked off as referee Ben Thaler said he hadn't grounded it (24) and then just a few seconds later the home fans were up in arms again as a Rob Jackson effort was ruled out for a marginal double movement. It is possible that a video referee might have given one of the scores, the players afterwards certainly seemed to think the Eilbeck's effort should have registered four points. As those chances slipped away it looked like the Dragons were over the worst of it, until another bone-crunching tackled forced an error and more Haven possession on the half way line. Straight from the scrum Duffy kicked the ball deep behind Murphy and Calvert gave chase. Murphy already knew that the Cumbrian was quicker then him from their earlier exchanges and perhaps it was that which put enough fear into him to cause some hesitation. Rather then just boot it into touch as it landed Murphy let the ball bounce near the touchline, and was then like a rabbit in the headlights as the advancing Calvert gathered it and raced away to score. Carl Rudd missed the conversion. Whitehaven were now in the ascendancy and the Recre was rocking, but for all their huff and puff the home team just couldn't find another gap. It was desperation to turn their superiority into points that forced Duffy to try another chip over. This time it wasn't on and Chan plucked the ball out of the air one-handed. The big prop didn't have the legs to race the 60 metres to the line, but he did make enough of a break that the Haven defence had to scramble back and cover. They hadn't got back into shape when the ball found its was out to Duport, and the Frenchman went in for a try against the run of play, which Bosc again converted, on 37 minutes, to leave the half-time score 4-12. Having looked the better team Whitehaven came out after the break confidently, but a mistake from their most reliable player left them reeling.
Gary Broadbent is the last man you'd ever expect to fumble the ball, but as he tried desperately to get out from the in-goal area after fielding a Jones kick he spilled it, and Julian Touxagas was gifted the easiest try he'll ever score. Bosc converted. Whitehaven could have imploded at that point but they continued to work tirelessly in defence, forcing a huge number of errors from the Catalans. On 67 minutes the visitors had a chance to put the game to bed when John Wilson raced 60 metres, leaving half a dozen defenders trailing in his wake. Wilson cut across the field to try and score under the posts but saw Calvert coming from the opposite wing so flung the ball inside to Jones. It wasn't the best pass ever, but it was easily catchable for a player of Jones' class. However the Kiwi spilled it just as Calvert arrived, much to the relief of the home fans. It looked like the error could prove very costly when a Duffy kick to the corner three minutes later decided everyone and Jackson was able to touch down for Haven's second score. Rudd converted from the touchline to leave it 10-18 with ten minutes remaining.
Whitehaven braced itself for a fairytale finish, but the Frenchmen had not read the script.
A high Jones bomb on 73 minutes was missed by both Calvet and Jackson as they jumped with Murphy and Adam Mogg and as the ball went hit the deck it trickled away from Broadbent and into Bentley's's hands. The hooker touched down and the dream was over. Bosc converted.
There was time for one last hurrah from Haven, and again it was a Duffy kick that caused chaos for the Catalans. Steve Maden was first to get to it, and he dribbled the ball past Greenshelids before beating team-mate Carl Sice in the race to touch it down. The final hooter sounded just as Carl Rudd struck his conversion attempt wide.
Carnegie Man of the Match: John Duffy whose kick through created tries and BNG Man of the Match was Craig Calvert who would not be denied his try!
Haven: Broadbent, Calvert, Eilbeck, R.Jackson, S.Maden, Rudd, Duffy, Trindall, G.Mattinson, Fatialofa, S.Miller, R. Fletcher,A. Smith,; Sice, Joe, Teare and Wright. Dragons: Greenshields, Murphy, Wilson, Mogg, Duport, Bosc, Jones, Casty, Quigley, Chan, Bentley, Gossard,Touxagas; McGuire, Ferriol, Guissett, Teixido.