12 March 2017 – Oxford 6 Workington Town 20
Tilsley Park, Abingdon
Blues Moving In The Right Direction
In the first ever meeting between these two clubs, Workington Town pulled away in the second half to hand Oxford a first defeat of 2017.
In their last match, Workington had kicked out on the full from a kick-off on three occasions. With a strong wind at their back they chose to start this game cautiously with a short kick to midfield. However, they regained possession soon following an Oxford fumble and had two good chances to score on the left wing in the opening minutes, both times let down by their own handling errors.
An end-to-end spell of play, ended with an Oxford try after 6 minutes by Curtis Macdonald, following a set-up run by Josh Atkinson. Harvey Burnett converted for a 6-0 lead.
For the opening half-hour or so, Oxford had the better of things but were unable to extend their lead. The best opportunity probably came when forcing two consecutive goal-line drop-outs, but a knock-on ended that passage of play.
However, Workington gradually got back into the game. Helped by four Super League players on loan or dual registration, the visitors forced Oxford into a goal-line stand which ended only with a knock-on. But shortly afterwards, Workington drew level with a try from Ed Chamberlain who jinked past several attempted tackles, and which Carl Forber converted. Oxford coach Tim Rumford was later to say that this try just before half-time was important to the final result.
In the opening 15 minutes of the second half, the referee awarded 11 penalties, 7 of which were to Workington. One that he did not give was for a debateable obstruction just before Workington moved the ball to the right for Jack Higginson to score in the corner.
And midway through the half, Workington’s Joe Hambley scored in the same spot after receiving a pass that appeared a long way forward. Carl Forber converted both those tries from the touchline and added a penalty 10 minutes from time that sealed the result.
In the last minute, tempers flared. The result was that Workington’s Macauley Davies and Oxford’s Jack Pickles were both sent to the sinbin, whilst Workington were awarded a penalty.
After the match, Oxford coach Tim Rumford said that there was nothing wrong with his team’s effort or will. “We have a young bunch of blokes. Decision-making by our players – and another individual that I can’t say too much about – cost us today. We want to play expansively, but neither team were allowed to express themselves. We will find out if we’ve learnt those lessons next week at Whitehaven.”
His counterpart from Workington, Dave Clark, also complimented Oxford by saying “I think that today was a game that was an arm wrestle for the full 80.”
Oxford – 1 Kane Riley, 5 Andy Hoggins, 3 Curtis Macdonald, 4 Harvey Burnett, 2 Josh Atkinson, 6 Callum Windley, 7 Scott Fleming, 8 Jake Joynt, 9 Casey Canterbury, 10 Stuart Biscomb, 11 Alex Foster (trialist), 12 Will Cooke, 13 Jack Pickles
Interchanges: 14 Brad Moules, 15 Dwaine McRae, 16 Marcus Brooker, 17 Anthony Cox
Try: Curtis Macdonald (6)
Goal: Harvey Burnett (1 from 1)
Workington Town – 3 Ed Chamberlain, 2 Joe Hambley, 22 Jack Higginson, 4 Jason Mossop, 20 Kieran Mewse, 6 Carl Forber, 9 Callum Phillips, 8 Kris Coward, 14 Sam Dowsett, 16 Tom Curwen, 11 Brett Phillips, 21 Macauley Davies, 13 Stuart Howarth
Interchanges: 12 Alex Szostak, 15 Perry Singleton, 24 Conor Fitzsimmons, 17 Scott Rooke
Tries: Ed Chamberlain (37), Jack Higginson (42), Joe Hambley (62)
Goals: Carl Forber (4 from 4)
Half-time – Oxford 6 Workington Town 6
Full-time – Oxford 6 Workington Town 20
Scoring sequence – 6-0, 6-6, 6-12, 6-18, 6-20
Referee – Brandon Robinson
Penalties – Oxford 10 Workington Town 17