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Bonus point can’t hide red card woe as Zebras depart North Lancs Cumbria

[W]orkington remain winless in 2017 as they closed their North Lancs Cumbria league account just as they opened it with defeat to Trafford MV.

Although they went down 22 – 52 in the sunshine at The Ellis, they were in contention at 12 – 10 until just before half time when they were reduced to 14 men after Ross Cape was sent off. From there, Trafford stepped up a gear and never looked back.

It was the visitors who looked likely to score first from kick off and did so after 5 minutes with an unconverted try. But Workington proceeded to hit back with several forages into Trafford territory and on 24 minutes they drew level after a series of driving rucks paid off as Scott Campbell threw himself over the line.

Back came Trafford seven minutes later when they broke clear in their own half and caught the Zebras cold with neat passing before they went over for the 3rd unconverted try of the match.

Workington were not in the mood to roll over and on 37 minutes produced the game’s “Champagne Moment” as Matt Gorley fooled the Trafford backline with a dummy throw before quickly offloading the ball to Sam Robinson who nipped in under the posts to give himself an easy conversion and put the Zebras ahead for the first time.

Then in stoppage time, came the game’s turning point when Trafford pushed forward before scoring their 2nd try, which was converted. The referee adjudged that Ross Cape had caused deliberate obstruction just before they scored and gave him a straight red card.

It was going to be an uphill struggle for Workington from this point and so proved 5 minutes into the second half as Trafford produced two tries in as many minutes to seal a bonus point for themselves.

Workington did their utmost to try and get back into the game, especially with Robinson and Bede O’ Connor making several dangerous runs, but Trafford stepped up a gear before cutting the Zebras defence to ribbons with no other brace of tries within 3 minutes that pretty much wrapped up victory.

The match was now out of reach, but Workington still had pride to play for and on the hour a brilliant, linking solo run from Shaun Murphy stirred the crowd before the ball found James Watkins who crashed over for his 3rd try of the season. Once again, this try went unconverted.

Six minutes later it got better for the Zebras when after Trafford were reduced to 14 men themselves with a yellow card for abusive language and from the restart, a quick pass and move ended with Chris Boyd crashing in the corner to secure Workington a bonus point of their very own.

But that was as good as it got for them as Trafford had the last word with a converted try 3 minutes from time.

The step up to North Lancs Cumbria was always going to be a struggle for Workington – especially with the points deduction handicap and then a seemingly never ending injury list. With the right mix of old heads and young emerging talent, Workington can lay foundations for a successful Cumbria League campaign next season.

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