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Great Games of the Past
Also see The Imortals...
1956:Whitehaven 14, Australia 11.
After this shattering defeat, before an exultant near 11,000 Recreation Ground crowd, the 1956 Aussie tourists rated Whitehaven the "strongest club side in England" and doubted whether there was a better all round pair of club wingers than Bill Smith and Syd Lowdon. Lowdon, skipper on the day ripped apart the Aussie defence, enabling Smith and Tembey to score tries. Four great McKeown goals piled on the first half pressure.
Despite fielding two of their all-time greats, full-back Clive Churchill and forward Norman Provan they failed to claw their way back.
1957 Whitehaven9, St Helens8
This is the game that started the club's epic Challenge Cup run. Second rower, Dick Huddart and centre Ron McMeneny gave a team performance that thrilled the crowd of 8,834. Some regard it as the club's finest ever win in a club match. In the St Helens line up were such household names as Murphy, Moses, Carleton, Prescott and Silcock.
1960 Whitehaven 10, Wakefield Trinity 21
This was the Recreation Grounds record gate of 18,500. Although Trinity, fieldiong Neil Fox and Derek Turner won John McKeown's prodigious goal kicking pulled the home side back to 11-10 at one stage.
1965: Whitehaven 12, New Zealand 7
Seven Test men were in the New Zealand side but they came unstuck in the mud of a wet Recreation Ground. The performance of 16 stone prop Les Moore helped hold the vistors.Pack mates Charlie McCourt, Nye Vaughan and Dennis Williamson also played themselves to a standstill. Centre John Coupe and back-rower John McVay were trie scorers.
1970: Whitehaven 9, Wigan 4
After a thrilling 20-20 draw at Central Park 4,000 fans turned out to see player/coach Sol Roperlead Haven to a thrilling and bruising replay win. Although stunned twice in heavy tackles, Roper kept play moving to winger Rodney Morris who went over for the vital try. Prop Dennis Martin inspired Gainford McCracken and Pringle in the Whitehaven pack, while the late Keith Hunter outshone the great Doug Laughton.
1974: Whitehaven 5, Warrington 0
Barry Smith was the toast of the town after he scored the last gasp try which took this side through to the semi-finals of the Players No 6 Trophy. Full-back George Mather convertedand the Warrington side was counted out on the dying minutes. John Pringle and Gordon Cottier were the star of a pack well marshalled by 'Spanky' McFarlane.
1982: Whitehaven 4 Leigh 13
A large contingent of visiting Leigh fans saw ugly duckling Haven give the favourites a major fright. A scatch Whitehaven side led by Boxer Walker, in his last game as player-coach, took the lead at one point thanks to a Mal McClure try.
Feb 25 2001 Dave Farrell reports on Saints at the Recre
In what was the best and most important game seen in Cumbria for years, Haven's players proved themselves to be heroes.They fit the definition:illustrious warriors greatly regarded for their achievements, courageous.They were all of these.
Four thousand fans of the world's greatest sport ,RUGBY LEAGUE,filled the Recreation Ground which looked smart for the occasion.They saw a thrilling match in which the little club that almost went out of existence last year took on the World Club Champions.Glossy magazines are full of the Saints.Well,today they were matched by little known but hardy Cumbrians and their trio of New Zealand allies.Only a very questionable decision at a critical moment near the end when the Saints were awarded a try after they had knocked the ball ten yards forward and had half the team offside,deprived Haven of what could well have been a well deserved victory.A final score of 34-22 flattered Saints.
This was an unforgettable match.Lester threw down the gauntlet in the first five minutes when he forced himself over from a play the ball.He led by example for the rest of the match.He was everywhere in attack and defence.What of St. Helens star studded team?They were powerful, but Haven matched them man for man.Cox was outstanding. Fatialofa was not overawed and had a strong game.Sherwen grew in confidence after coming on for the deadlegged Morton.Last season he and the classy Jackson faced amateurs, today it was the cream of the Super League.
All the Haven players were magnificent and disciplined.They took to the field with grim determination and stuck to their task.From 6-0 to 8-10,to 18-20 with a quarter of an hour to go, they were always in it. Kirkbride played and kicked excellently and Leroy Joe had the game of his life.Hill came close in the first half and should have been awarded a penalty try with twenty minutes to go when Matoutia was red carded for attempted decapitation.
Cox powered over in the second half and all our young guns were blazing,but it was Seeds who really played out of his skin.No one on that field had more class than him.He was superb and thoroughly deserved to score Haven's third try when he ,Lester and Campbell combined.O'neil was thrown in at the deep end and played impeccably at fullback.
Coached by Paul Cullen,Haven played very professionally.It was a team effort in which every man did themselves and the club proud.They met and matched the best.
Big Screen SL Action. Friday evenings in the JJ McKeown Bar at the Recreation Ground.