Siddal emerged from a 22-0 Coral Challenge Cup defeat away to Workington’s professionals with tremendous credit yesterday.
When they went 16-0 down in 12 minutes at Derwent Park they looked to be facing a heavy defeat but the Halifax amateurs matched their League One hosts for much of the rest of the contest.
They went close to scoring on several occasions and only conceded one try in the second half as their hosts earned a home tie against Newcastle Thunder in the fourth round at the end of the month.
The match had been put back a week in Cumbria due to waterlogging and Workington’s ground staff had to work hard to ensure the pitch was in reasonable condition after torrential rain.
The home side have won two out of three in the league so far and they set off like a house on fire. The Chevinedge men were forced to drop out four times in the early stages and couldn’t get their hands on the ball.
Workington cashed in with tries from winger Scott Rooke, ex-Halifax hooker Sean Penkywicz and Steve Scholey, Carl Forber adding two of the goals.
The landslide win that the home supporters must have expected at that stage never materialised, however, with front rower George Ambler leading the way for the visitors.
Danny Rushworth, Danny Williams, Jack Georgiou, Ben Hinsley and the influential Canaan Smithies started to dominate their opponents, prompted by Christian Ackroyd and Chris Brooke.
Player-coach Gareth English was introduced and also began to make ground. Dom Booth and Rushworth both got over the line but couldn’t ground the ball.
Siddal remained in the ascendancy at the start of the second half as Ambler and Sean McCormack drove their colleagues forward.
Youngsters Ackroyd, Eddie Ainley, Jake Turner, Sam Walsh and Lewis Hosty were growing in confidence as Siddal gave as good as they got and Turner appeared to have scored after 70 minutes, only for the referee to rule the ball hadn’t been grounded properly.
Workington made the game safe approaching the last 10 minutes when Ollie Wilkes went in between the posts, leaving Forber with an easy two pointer.
Siddal still refused to lie down and finished the game on the front foot, earning a guard of honour from their hosts as they left the field.
Workington paid tribute to Siddal on their official Twitter account, saying it had been a tough game against “very well drilled and enthusiastic” opponents.