MATCH REPORT – Newcastle Thunder 38 – 18 Workington Town

Newcastle Thunder will face a re-match with Doncaster RLFC in the Betfred League 1 Preliminary Final next weekend after being made to work hard by a dogged Workington Town side in the semi-finals at Kingston Park on Sunday.

It was a solid performance from the Tynesiders with some moments of superb skill, but they were made to work hard by a side made up of only 14 players as injuries and suspensions bit the West Cumbrians hard.

Thunder made an instant start off the back of a Workington penalty at the kick-off as the line strayed in front of the kicker and eagle-eyed Super League referee James Child blew up for the offside.  

The penalty gave Thunder the platform they needed to score their first of seven tries on the day as a flowing move put Kieran Gill in with just two minutes played.

It was the first of a hat trick for the young centre who has now equalled the record for the number of tries scored for the club in a single season set by Matty Daylight back in 1999.

It was a short-lived lead however as the visitors hit back almost immediately when the hosts overcooked a flowing move trying to force a second score and lost possession 15m out.

Making just his fourth appearance of the season, Blain Marwood was the man out on the wing who had all the space he needed to race in from halfway for a converted try that got his side back level.

With their morale boosted, Town showed defensive resolve in the face of some potent running from the hosts and were able to keep Thunder at bay until a clever step from Nick Newman opened up the defensive line and allowed the halfback to regain the lead.

The Australian bagged a second five minutes later as he ran a hard angled line before selling the dummy to create the split second’s hesitation he needed to ghost through..

Tries for Quentin Lalulu Togaga’e and a second for Kieran Gill allowed Newcastle to extend their lead considerably before Town grabbed one back with five minutes to go as Sean Penkywicz and Perry Singleton combined to take a well-worked score.

That strong finish continued into the second half as Town threw themselves into wave after wave of attack as they forced Thunder into a series of penalties and mistakes in the shadow of their line, but it was a position that Newcastle were able to control and contain.

Riding out that period of pressure, Thunder got themselves back into the ascendency with a prolonged spell deep in the Workington half, but they had to wait until 57 minutes before Alex Clegg was played in at the corner to edge his side further ahead.

With the conditions changing dramatically towards the end of the match as the heavens opened, the fluency of the game broke up with errors from both sides stifling their attacking efforts and Thunder losing Newman to a head injury assessment after a big hit in the middle of the park.

There was time for both sides to add a converted try before the full-time hooter, with Town getting their third of the day as Andrew Dawson dove on a clever chip before Thunder’s Gill completed his hat trick.

Newcastle Thunder

Lewis Young, Misi Taulapapa, Joe Brown, Kieran Gill, Alex Clegg, Quentin Lalulu Togaga’e, Nick Newman, Liam McAvoy, Keal Carlile, Harry Aldous, Joel Edwards, Rhys Clarke, Sam Luckley, Evan Simons, Conor Fitzsimmons, Jack Aldous, Alex Rowe

Tries: Gill (2, 32, 76) Newman (13, 20) Laulu-Togaga’e (28) Clegg (57)

Goals Clarke 5/7

Sin Bin – Sam Luckley – high tackle (79)

Workington Town

Russell Bolton, Blain Marwood, Caine Barnes, Perry Singleton, Jonathan Walsh, Jamie Doran, Carl Forber, Andrew Dawson, Sean Penkywicz, Fui Fui Moi Moi, Stevie Scholie, Gordon Maudling, Sam Hopkins, Tyler Lancaster

Tries: Marwood (3) Singleton (34) Dawson (72)

Goals: Forber 3/3

Penalty Count 6/10

Half Time 28-12

Attendance 687