Derwent Park this evening became the setting for the first ever London Broncos victory in Cumbria. Trailing 12-6 after 50 minutes, London largely controlled the defensive effort of the second half to come away with a 13-16 victory.
A hard fought defensive contest, only two tries – one for either side – were scored in the opening half. Ioane was first to cross after nine minutes, but found himself held up. Some quick thinking saw an offload to James Cunningham, who crossed the whitewash straight under the posts, and Leatherbarrow successfully converted.
15 minutes later, and in a man of the match performance, Jarrod Sammut made a ball steal and got his side across for their first of the afternoon. Carl Forber added the extras.
The second 40 saw another successfully converted try from Sammut after a fortuitous ricochet from a short kick fell into his hands, and Workington extended their lead 12-6.
The lead wasn’t to last long – 66 minutes in, Rhys Williams spotted an opening, and emphatically barged across, however a tough angle saw Leatherbarrow’s conversion fall slightly short.
Only minutes later, Matt Garside walked across for the match winning try after a clever offload from Barthau, putting the ball down squarely underneath the posts. Leatherbarrow added the extra two, and London took the lead.
In what was presumably a brain explosion, Sammut went for the drop goal with only five minutes remaining, taking the final score to 13-16.
Speaking after the match, Head Coach, Andrew Henderson, conceded that discipline and outcomes from end of sets hurt his side, but praised the defensive effort as a whole.
“Our discipline hurt us a little bit in the first half. Too often we were giving penalties away on early plays, and Workington didn’t have to earn their field position. Second half we improved that area, but we failed to finish our sets on our terms on too many occasions.
“However, defensively, we were immense.We kept working really hard and turning up for each other. The reality is they never really broke our line.
“Overall I’m very pleased – certainly with the defensive attitude. Let’s not forget we’ve not won in Cumbria – it’s our first win in Cumbria since we’ve been in the Championship so that’s a massive monkey off the back.
“I’ve always said, you don’t need to be playing your best football at this point in the season, you just need to be picking up points. I’m not so sure the team last year would have won that. When we were 12-6 behind, I’m not sure we’d have had the will to win, whereas this team’s a different animal.
“There’s a certain steel and resilience within this team, and I think that’s been evident in the first four weeks. We’ve come out, we’ve competed hard in every fixture and we’ve won three out of four. It’s a good start to the season, and now it’s about building off the back of that hard work, and being better, for what will be a tough period in March.
“Very excited to be back at home and facing Halifax – hopefully we can get the start of the month off with the result, and in front of a full crowd of fans at Trailfinders.
“Halifax are a tough team to handle, and we’re going to have to be very good this week. We’re going to have to be better then we have been in the last four games. For us, it’s just about getting better each week and improving as a team.
“I think as a team we’ve still got a lot more in us – I don’t think we’re anywhere near what we’re capable of, and that’s what excites me as a coach – we will only continue to get better”
Workington Town: Jack Murphy, Sam Forrester, Declan Hulme, Jason Mossop, Brett Carter, Carl Forber, Jarrod Sammut, Kris Coward, Graeme Mattinson, Oliver Gordon, Brett Phillips, Jarrad Stack, Liam McAvoy
Interchange: Stevie Scholey, Karl Olstrom, Perry Whiteley, Ryan Verlinden
Tries: Sammut (24), Sammut (52)
Goals: Forber (2/2)
Drop goal: Sammut (73)
London Broncos: Alex Walker, Rhys Williams, Elliot Kear, Ben Hellewell, Iliess Macani, William Barthau, Scott Leatherbarrow, Nick Slyney, James Cunningham, Mark Ioane, Daniel Harrison, Matt Garside, Jack Bussey
Interchange: Andy Ackers, Matt Davis, Mark Offerdahl, Eddie Battye
Tries: Cunningham (9), Williams (66), Garside (69)
Goals: Leatherbarrow (2/3)