whitehaven rugby league the Marras

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Highlights 2002
Haven Immortals

Whitehaven RL
Recreation Ground
Coach Rd
Tel 01946 692915

Fax 01946 695805

Travel for away fixtures contact Steve Shepherd Tel. 07740867495.

Action pictures can be purchased from photographer Mike McKenzie

Grand Final 2004

Wes did Haven proudHaven came so close to winning their first Grand Final in 56 years when they came up against Leigh at the Halton Stadium, Widnes. The team’s achievement in taking the much-vaunted Leigh Centurions down to the wire ensured the Super League dream was not dead. It had merely been put on hold for 12 months.

In the first 80 minutes period Haven should have been victors in their better composure in defence and attack. David Seeds and Sam Obst exceptional, Aaron Lester providing great direction from dummy-half and David Fatialofa as solid as ever up front.

But they could not shake off the Leigh outfit that clung to the top of the league this year. Big problem for Haven was that man Neil Turley, who contributed a Grand Final record 18 points, from a try, six goals and two drop-goals.

If not for the full-back’s contribution, Haven would today almost certainly have been planning next year’s Super League campaign.

As in recent fixtures Haven's goal kicking lacked the McCormack touch.

The West Cumbrians had enjoyed a great start, Wesley Wilson crossing after two minutes, Leroy Joe and Mick Nanyn putting his winger in at the corner. Craig Walsh then tackled Leigh winger Rob Smyth behind his own line and Haven tails were up.

Haven were well on top, and ref Ronnie Laughton called on the video ref after Seeds had appeared to touch down a kick just before it rolled dead.

But closer inspection showed the ball had touched the whitewash fractionally before the centre was able to get his palm to it.

Great work from winger Craig Calvert then led to Smyth being trapped behind his own line, forcing Leigh to drop-out. After they were caught offside on the next set, Nanyn landed a penalty from in front of the sticks.

Haven were 6-0 up with 17 minutes on the clock, and the Centurions were getting rattled. Their first points came on 25 minutes, Turley slotting a penalty after Haven prop Ryan Tandy had impeded Duffy as he chased his own kick.

Three minutes later they landed their first try, as Cooper crossed to level the scores. Duffy and Turley combined again as Leigh took the lead for the first time on 35 minutes thanks to a drop goal.

With just 15 seconds of the half left, a Nanyn penalty attempt sailed wide and Leigh preserved their narrow lead at the interval.

But their advantage did not last long, Calvert scoring a storming 44th minute try, created by Aaron Lester from dummy-half. Nanyn converting.

Leigh were frustrated and slashing out with Halliwell lucky to stay on the field after a late tackle on Obst.

The tide seemed to be turning Haven's way, but after Rowley broke from his own half, Martyn crossed the line. Turley added the extras and followed up with a penalty for a high tackle, as Leigh pulled three points clear.

Haven did not let their spirits drop and Joe, Nanyn and Wes Wilson teamed up again for the winger to claim his second touch down.

Nanyn was unable to add the conversion from out on the right and Haven's lead remained at one point.

Turley had a chance to retake the lead with a long-range penalty attempt for ball-stealing with five minutes remaining. He missed, for once, but in the tense remaining minutes made no mistake with a drop-goal minutes later to send the match into heart-stopping extra-time.

Leigh seized the second chance and just piled on the pressure Rowley notched a drop-goal, and then Cooper beat full-back Gary Broadbent to score.

Turley converted and moments later scored his solo try that must have removed any doubts that he was man-of-the-match. Turley converted again, and Haven were now flagging.

Martyn had the last word, slotting a drop-goal, as Leigh finished with a winning margin that flattered them.

Minutes after the final whistle, Haven chairman Barry Richardson was talking about his team’s determination to return to the final next year.

Many of the loyal Haven followers had stayed behind after the final whistle to salute their heroes. They had done themselves proud.

Haven: Broadbent, Calvert, Seeds, Nanyn, Wilson, Joe, Obst, Jackson, Lester, Fatialofa, Davidson, Hill, Walsh. Subs: Miller, Sice, McKinney, Tandy.

Tries: Wilson 2, Calvert.

Goals: Nanyn 2.

Leigh: Turley, Smyth, Halliwell, Cooper, Alstead, Duffy, Martyn, Knox, Rowley, Sturm, Larder, Wilkes, Knott. Subs: McConnell, Cruckshank, Marshall, Swann.

Tries: Cooper 2, Martyn, Turley.

Goals: Turley 6, plus 2 drop-goals. Rowley one drop-goal, Martyn one drop-goal.

Referee: Ronnie Laughton (Barnsley).

Attendance: 11,005.


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