Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Sunday's Coming: Workington

Workington earlier today - the crowds flock to celebrate
nine bonus points.
We've spoken at great length here over the last few weeks about how finding a way to 'lose well' could be the key to survival in this particularly punitive Championshiop season. And no-one has mastered the art of getting points for losing quite as well as Workington ToWn. With only one win more than Hornets, they have a staggering 12 points more, courtesy of NINE bonus points. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, three free wins for coming second in nine two horse races. 

We've always been ambivalent about the bonus point, seeing both its value in encouraging teams to compete and its stupidity for basically rewarding losers - but Workington have turned 'losing well' into an art form - and sit only a point behind Whitehaven in 7th!

The other thing that's caught our eye with Workington is their dual reg relationship with Wigan. Just as we've striven to make our partnership with Saints work as effectively for both parties as possible, there's been a steady stream of pie-eating talent heading up the M6 all season. Indeed Wigan prodigies Lewis Tierney and Jack Murphy weighed in with ToWn's three tries last weekend as Workington snuck past Keighley by 16 to 12 in the archetypal game of two halves.

Sitting on a comfortable 16-nil half time lead, Worky's wheels came off in the second period, much to the disappointment of coach Phil Vievers. Speaking in the News & Star this week he said: “Why do we seem to let teams back into it in the second half? It’s about a mentality issue. It’s about them listening to instruction and then applying that to the game… We know we can stop people scoring and there was only six or seven minutes when they scored, but I thought that was irrelevant really… we’ll sit down during the week and look at the video and take the positives out of it and address the negatives of what we shouldn’t be doing and move onto Rochdale at home".

With four wins on the trot - including a 'shock' defeat of Featherstone - ToWn have a bit of momentum. And with wins up at Derwent Park pretty hard to come by at the best of times, Hornets will need to reprise the best bits of the last two weeks' performances to keep the pressure on Swinton and 'Big Spendng North Wales Crusaders™' above us. Indeed, with North Wales at Dewsbury and Swinton at Doncaster (who derailed the Leigh juggernaut last week), favourable results could see Hornets leapfrog both into 11th - and pull Workington closer to the pack.

With 8 games and 24 points still to play for there's still plenty to believe in. So stick three mates in the car, treat yourself to a lovely day out in the lakes - and get over to Workington to get behind the lads.

Official RFL Match Preview
Workington Town coach Phil Veivers has the option of recalling Declan Hulme following his recent suspension. Town have now won four consecutive games to move within three points of fifth-placed Dewsbury Rams. Veivers was frustrated with his side’s second-half display against Keighley Cougars last week, but is now focusing on a fifth straight victory.

Veivers said: “Our confidence is bound to be high because we’ve got a bit of momentum about us.”
Hornets coach Ian Talbot hopes to have Mike Ratu and Gareth Langley available for selection, while Shaun Robinson could also feature after joining Rochdale from Dewsbury Rams.
Talbot’s men won 54-22 against Barrow Raiders last week. He said: “If we compete set for set with any team at this level, we’ll give ourselves a chance. That will be our aim, and then hopefully that frustrates Workington."
“They were the bonus point masters at one stage, but since then they’ve won four games and are competing for ninth spot, so they’ll be the favourites. We’ll just concentrate on ourselves and what we can control.”