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Saturday, 22 November 2014

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Thrills and spills as Barrow hosts RL Nines: with pictures and video

CRAVEN Park discovered just what all the fuss was about as it hosted a night of great entertainment in the RL Nines.

Not a game for those who love a ground-out forwards battle, the nine-a-side game proved a thrill-a-minute attacking frenzy, with Cumbria, Wigan, Widnes and St Helens putting on a great show.

The mysteries of the powerplay conversion – where teams are able to go for a further try from one tackle on the 10-metre line – to drop-goal conversions and unlimited substitutions soon became the norm and made for a fine night of rugby league.

The youngsters from the Warriors demonstrated their great skill and looked likely to score at any moment, while the Cumbria team kept the home fans happy with a win in the final match.

They will also have felt unlucky not to have beaten St Helens in a close game where a missed conversion proved crucial.

Cumbria 10 Wigan Warriors 22

THE different nature of nines was obvious from the start as a Scott Kaighan kick failed to go the 10 metres necessary, and Martin Wilson headed it over the margin to concede a penalty.

The unbeaten Warriors were on the offensive for the majority of the first half, Lee Haney stopping a Jack Murphy break down the right before Joe Murphy went round the Barrow Raiders man to make it 4-0.

Loz Hamzat came close for Cumbria as he was pushed into touch just short of the corner, and Matty Crow had a try disallowed before half-time.

Burgess scored a second try early in the second half as he went round James Finch, and Louis Tierney added a powerplay conversion for an extra four points.

Burgess added his third and fourth tries of the game with great pace down the right-hand side, with Ryan Hampshire kicking one conversion for a 22-4 lead.

Cumbria scored at the end through Workington’s Jarrad Stack on the end of some fast hands, Kaighan kicking the county’s sole conversion of the game.

Cumbria Tries: Hamzat, Stack.

Cumbria Conversion: Kaighan.

Wigan Tries: Burgess (4), Tierney.

Wigan Conversion: Hampshire.

St Helens 24 Widnes Vikings 26

AFTER the high-scoring antics of the opening game, Saints and Widnes took their time to cross the try-line, before Danny Jones went in near the posts.

The erratic handling continued throughout the half before Lewis Sheridan scored a second Saints try with some jinking footwork near the line.

The second half produced try after try, with Matty Norton scoring first for Widnes, followed by a Jack Owens powerplay conversion to make it 8-8.

Saints went in front again through Ste Yates, before Widnes went ahead for the first time as Norton scored a powerplay on the back of his own try.

The Vikings’ lead was momentary as Anthony Walker scored and Sheridan converted with the boot for 18-16.

Owens scored a second and Danny Craven kicked a conversion for 22-18, but Saints scored and converted through Danny Jones and Sheridan for a 24-22 lead with less than a minute to go.

But the Vikings came back once more to claim a maiden win in the competition as Brad Davies scored at the last.

Saints Tries: Jones (2), Sheridan, Yates, Walker.

Saints Conversions: Sheridan (2)

Widnes Tries: Norton (3), Owens (2), Davies.

Widnes Conversion: Craven.

Widnes Vikings 24 Wigan Warriors 46

THE teams top and bottom of the west division before the night met next, and the league leaders went ahead through Dom Crosby in what was to be a free-scoring affair.

Ryan Hampshire kicked a conversion and Keith Holden produced a quick Widnes reply for 6-4 to the Warriors.

The Warriors now went into a try-scoring frenzy, with Hampshire going in, followed by a Joe Bullock powerplay – the winger doing the same thing off a Ryan King try moments later.

Chris Atkin struck back for Widnes, but another King score after some electric pace on the left made it 26-8 at half-time.

A Magraff Leuluai try and an Owen Livesey powerplay conversion cut the gap momentarily to 26-16, but King completed his hat-trick on the end of some fast hands and Hampshire added a quick powerplay.

Matty Crow scored two more tries for the Warriors – one converted by the boot of Hampshire and one by Scott Leatherbarrow.

Danny Craven scored a consolation for Widnes with a fine sidestep on the hooter, with Josh Crowley forcing over from the 10-metre powerplay to end the game.

Wigan Tries: Crosby, Hampshire (2), Bullock (2), King (3), Crow (2).

Wigan Conversions: Hampshire (2), Leatherbarrow.

Widnes Tries: Holden, Atkin, Leuluai, Livesey, Craven, Crowley.

Cumbria 28 St Helens 30

THE host county started their second game well, with Haven winger Loz Hamzat collecting a Scott Kaighan kick in the corner for 4-0.

Saints were soon down the other end and scoring themselves, Lewis Sheridan adding to his own kick through try with a powerplay for 8-4.

Millomite Bradd Crellin struck back for the Cumbria team in the right corner, but Saints were back in through Danny Jones for a 14-8 lead thanks to Greg Wilde’s conversion.

Jarrad Stack proved unstoppable from close range for Cumbria, but Matty Wood soon responded for Saints and a Wilde kick made it 20-12. Kaighan took a high ball to put Cumbria within four again, but Scott Hale scored in the corner to open up the gap after James Finch was sin-binned – for two minutes – after taking out Sheridan.

Cumbria pulled level though as Stack put Mike Backhouse in with a powering run and Stephen Dawes added a powerplay score.

The Cumbrians were ahead soon after as Hamzat streaked away down the wing, but they went for a kicked conversion which Kaighan missed.

That proved crucial as Saints scored again through Sheridan and Wilde was successful with the converting kick to earn them the win.

Cumbria Tries: Hamzat (2), Crellin, Stack, Kaighan, Backhouse, Robinson.

Saints Tries: Sheridan (3), Jones, Wood, Hale.

Saints Conversions: Wilde (3).

Wigan Warriors 52 St Helens 42

WIGAN showed just why they are the unbeaten favourites for this year’s crown with a high-scoring demolition of Saints.

The final 12-point margin did not reflect the overall dominance of the young Warriors – who stepped up another gear when their opponents threatened an unexpected triumph.

Joe Burgess helped himself to four more tries and Ryan King three, while Ryan Hampshire added a brace and Liam Carberry, Scott Leatherbarrow, Ian Thornley and Dom Crosby were also on the scoresheet.

Burgess was a particular menace as he combined poaching on the line with great pace down the flank, though Carberry’s try came as referee Gareth Hewer became confused by the different rules system and let Wigan intercept on a Saints powerplay, a definite no-no.

Saints did shine in periods, with Lewis Sheridan particularly impressive as he scored two tries – the same number as Ste Yates and Chris Webster – and created most of the attacking chances for his team.

Scott Hales, Antony Walker, Greg Wilde and Josh Greaves also crossed the whitewash in a game which produced a total of 23 tries – including powerplays – over 15 minutes.

Wigan Tries: King (3), Carberry, Burgess (4), Leatherbarrow, Hampshire (2), Thornley, Crosby.

Saints Tries: Yates (2), Sheridan (2), Hale, Walker, Wilde, Webster (2), Greaves.

Saints Conversion: Wilde.

Cumbria 14 Widnes Vikings 8

CUMBRIA sent their supporters home happy with victory in the final match of the night against Widnes.

The scrappiest opening period of the evening took six minutes to produce a score, with the Vikings eventually going ahead when Josh Livesey broke through from a Magraff Leuluai pass.

Cumbria responded before the interval though, with Loz Hamzat ensuring he scored in every match on the night as he took a Scott Kaighan kick in plenty of space out wide.

The county side then went ahead to great cheers from the Craven Park terraces when James Robinson broke with great speed and sent in supporting Workington full-back Brett Carter for the try.

Kaighan kicked the conversion for 10-4 and the lead was made an unassailable 10 points with a minute to go when Martyn Wilson spotted a hole and went through it to score from 70 yards out.

Sam Singleton did reply late on for Widnes, but the hoot denied them the chance of claiming a second victory of the night.

Cumbria Tries: Hamzat, Carter, Wilson.

Cumbria Conversion: Kaighan.

Widnes Tries: Livesey, Singleton.

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