Cornwall RLFC


Workington vs Cornwall – Match Report

April 28, 2024

Bailey Black celebrates scoring – Ben Challis Photography

Cornwall delivered a much-improved showing but they were defeated by a Jarrod Sammut inspired Workington Town in Cumbria today.

The 925-mile round trip from the Memorial Ground to the Lake District saw Cornwall start the game well and they led 6-0 after 18 minutes.

But Workington gradually took control and ultimately secured victory thanks to veteran Sammut’s hat-trick.

Cornwall chief Mike Abbott made three changes from the side which was beaten in the Duchy by Midlands Hurricanes seven days ago.

In the back division, there was a Cornwall debut for Aaron Small after he joined the Choughs from London Skolars during the off season.

Small slotted in at centre, thus enabling Coby Nichol to move to his preferred position on the wing as Kyle Marvin dropped out of the matchday 18 altogether.

In the halves, Morgan Punchard, who was 18th man against the Hurricanes, partnered with Bailey Black as Adam Rusling, still feeling the effects of his nasty leg gash suffered in round one against Keighley, did not feature.

Cornwall’s only other change came at hooker with Luke Collins and Nathan Conroy swapping roles. Conroy, who recently re-joined the club for a second spell, started at interchange while Collins was in from the off.  

The Choughs suffered a record home reverse against Midlands Hurricanes in round six, but after 18 minutes of a bruising encounter, Abbott’s side led 6-0 thanks to Black’s try, converted by Cameron Brown.

Workington were also temporarily reduced to 12-men shortly before Black’s opener when Jake Lightowler was sent for a 10-minute sabbatical by referee Andrew Sweet, for a high tackle on Tom Ashton.

And the Choughs had field position to inflict further damage on the hosts before a scrum move went wrong and Jordan Burns broke up field. He was eventually stopped in his tracks, but Nichol followed Lightowler to the bin and Cornwall conceded shortly after.

Hooker Matty Henson sniped over from marker and with Carl Forber converting, the match was tied up at 6-6.

Sammut then announced himself to the Cumbrian failtful with the first of three tries after a Burns kick in midfield. Cornwall can feel aggrieved that a forward pass was not picked up by referee Sweet, but the score was awarded despite visiting protests.

Just after the half hour mark Forber was put on report for a high tackle on Black, which seemed to warrant another yellow card before Workington scored again in controversial circumstances.

Henson went to burrow over from close range again and despite Cornwall seemingly holding up the home number nine, he was awarded his second try of the afternoon.

Holding an 18-6 interval lead, Cornwall were not out of the game by any stretch. However, they needed a fast start to the second stanza but instead, shipped three tries in five minutes.

Punchard failed to gather the kick-off cleanly meaning Workington had first use of the football and Tyler Walton, playing against one of his former clubs, powered over.

Burns then broke from deep to score with Sammut putting the game beyond Cornwall with a brilliant individual effort. The former Super League star, 37, spotted the Cornwall line flat and chipped through, gathered his own kick, offloaded, but supported the home attack to finish brilliantly.

Cornwall were teetering at this point but stemmed the flow and thought they had scored when prop Josh Rhodes crashed over, only to be ruled as held up. 

Finally Cornwall did score again with 23 minutes left as Conroy matched the feat Henson to scoot over from dummy-half. But any hopes of an unlikely Cornwall comeback were extinguished when Jack Stephenson powered home from close-range.

And, again, the Cornwall floodgates appeared to open as Sammut duly completed his treble with just over 15 minutes left.

Nichol was sent to the bin for a second time in the aftermath of Sammut’s third although Cornwall dug in and finished the game well.

Jake Lloyd appeared to gather Conroy’s grubber to score but Sweet remained unmoved before Workington finished their tally when winger Jonny Hutton strolled in out wide.

The final word did go to the lively Brown who pounced on a Punchard kick to score in the final minute of the game which Workington deserved to win, but Cornwall can take huge encouragement from their performance too.

Cornwall: Brown, Nichol, Small, Ashton, Aaronson, Black, Punchard, Ross, Collins, Dimech, Weetman, Simpson, Lloyd. Interchange (all used): Rhodes, Bannister, Conroy, O’Callaghan.

Tries: Black (6), Conroy (57), Brown (79).

Goals: Brown 3/3

Sinbin: Nichol (16) – professional foul, Nichol (63) – late hit

Workington: Burns, Bickerdike, Taylor, Mossop, Hutton, Sammut, Forber, Thomson, Henson, Lightowler, Bradley, McNicholas, Stephenson. Interchanges (all used): Archer, Key, Walton, Reid.

Tries: Henson (18,35), Sammut (24,45,62), Walton (41), Burns (43), Stephenson (59), Hutton (74)

Goals: Forber 8/9

Sinbin: Lightowler (6) – high tackle

Referee: Andrew Sweet