CORNWALL RLFC’s 900-plus-mile round trip to Workington Town ended in a 54-0 defeat in round 11 of the Betfred League One, writes Gareth Davies.
The home side’s victory lifts Anthony Murray’s men into fifth place and crucially, for their play-off aspirations, four points clear of seventh-placed North Wales Crusaders.
For Cornwall, their search for a maiden away win in 2023 goes on, with their cause not helped by injuries to half-back Adam Rusling and hooker Luke Collins. Prop Harry Boots was also withdrawn early in the piece owing to a back injury, suffered in Saturday’s captain’s run, flaring up.
In the searing Derwent Park heat, after the early exchanges were relatively even, Workington went ahead after five minutes. Prop Jake Bradley, making his bow for the Cumbrians, crashed onto a short ball to score with Ciaran Walker adding the extra two points.
Both sides were then guilty of making mistakes during the next passages of play, with Cornwall failing to make the most of opportunities to test Workington close to their own line.
But crucially, Town made Cornwall pay for their errors whilst the visitors didn’t. Hooker Matty Henson sniped over from dummy half and Walker knocked over the extras.
Cornwall’s afternoon was perhaps summed up shortly after when the division’s leading try scorer Sean Sabutey made a hash of Cam Brown’s kick. The ball bounced up for Coby Nichol but he just couldn’t gather and the chance was lost.
Rusling, who started the match at interchange, appeared just after the 20-minute mark but could only last until the interval. His first involvement in the game saw Workington forced to defend a repeat set but a forward pass put Workington on the march again.
And they scored two further tries before the half hour was up through centre Jason Mossop and Henson, who bagged his second of the afternoon in identical circumstances to his first.
Cornwall, to their credit, never raised the white flag once throughout a gruelling encounter and on another day, Lady Luck may have shone on the Choughs more than it actually did.
Sabutey added to his tally this season after he profited from a fortunate bounce of a loose ball and the opening 40’s scoring was completed by Grant Reid.
Within 60 seconds of the second half commencing, Cornwall thought they had opened their account when Max Anderson-Moore made a hash of a Brown kick. Harry Aaronson was first to the ball but referee Elliott Burrow, who was outstanding throughout, ruled the Cornwall winger had pushed his opposite number.
Workington then scored their seventh try of the afternoon as Bradley matched the feat of Henson by bagging another. Full-back Burns, who caused Cornwall problems both in attack and defence, then profited from his side keeping the ball alive on the last tackle.
Cornwall were creaking at this point but they dug in well and a combination of last-ditch defending and Workington trying to force the final pass resulted in no further points until the 72nd minute.
Props Stevie Scholey and Jordan Thompson combined for the latter to stroll in under the sticks. The scoring was then completed shortly after as Walker registered a brilliant individual effort. The home stand-off dabbed in behind, gathered his own kick and scored.
Workington: Burns, Anderson-Moore, Mossop, Hurst, Sabutey, Walker, Forber, Scholey, Henson, Thompson, Bradley, Steele, Dawson. Interchange: (all used) Kirkup, Marwood, Reid, McNicholas.
Tries: Bradley (4,44), Henson (14,29), Mossop (24), Sabutey (31), Reid (39), Burns (53), Thompson (72), Walker (74). Goals: Walker 7/10
Cornwall: Aaronson, Carter, Nichol, Ashton, Trerise, Brown, Whitton, Boots, Lloyd, Badham, Cullen, Weetman, Dimech. Interchange: (all used) Collins, Rusling, Boase, Bull.
Referee: Eliott Burrow.