So two games maximum points. North Shields at home. Last time we played them we lost a high scoring game at home. None of us really know what the other teams are like as we have had so long off we have to wait and see how everyone has faired in getting back to rugby again.
A few cry offs with injury and other reasons so in came Martin Pluskal for Alex Surrey at 8, Nathan Turner for Dan Austin in the centre, Kellen Reah in for Ross Craig at 9 and Will Etchells on the bench for Owen McGill.
A nice warm, sunny day but windy with it coming diagonally across the pitch. We did the two minutes silence for Malcolm Scott. Lee Hetherington & the Seaham lad Conner Drinkwater.
North Shields kicked off and within a minute we had a scrum on the right hand side of the pitch about half way. Pick up by Martin Pluskal to Kellen Reah and onto Scott Cartner at pace who scorched in with a couple of neat little jinks to score a great try and convert himself. 7-0
We continued to keep up the pressure and were keeping possession. After 12 minutes following a penalty we got a line out on their line and not like last week, we won it and had a great drive over with Michael Hastie getting the touchdown, converted by Scott 14-0.
North Shields had a lad yellow carded for a high tackle. Now the ref gave a number of penalties for high tackles, most of them under the new laws that a few years ago would never have been a penalty. However this one was a proper old fashioned clothes line job! It will be interesting to see different referees interpretations of the new laws over the next few weeks.
As often happens when a side goes into the lead quite comfortably, they take their foot of the gas and the other teams comes back into it and this happened yesterday. North Shields got to play their driving game and we ended up giving quite a few penalties away with Martin Pluskal getting a yellow card as a result. We kicked a penalty from about 40 metres from Scott Cartner but poor tackling got North Shields in for a try to make the half time score 17-5.
Second half saw a good start with some good support work with Adam Ridley breaking through for a good score, again converted by Scott Cartner, 24-5. Tom McGowan was off injured so on came Matty Cooper in the back row. We continued the pressure and looked like we had lost the chance to score but Dan Lambert picked up a loose ball and burst through from about 20 metres to score, converted by Scott to make it 31-5.
North Shields got themselves back up to our half and after some good driving play scored in the corner, 31-10.
Just after this Conner Anderson earned himself DOD award. After some great play from a few of the backs, himself included where he had three options for a certain score: go himself, pass left, pass right. However he took the fourth option which was to attempt a grubber kick which rebounded of the defender’s shims and put them back in our half. We’ve all been there!!
Anyway continuing pressure saw more tries. Scott Cartner broke down the left and with a little jink inside raced away to score & convert, 38-10.
Nathan Turner made a great break to score and whilst diving to put the ball down he got a late hit for his troubles. Scott converted 45-10. Nathan again made a break and was heading for the line and one of their lads gave chase. Nathan was running out of legs when the lad tackled him. He tried to dot the ball over the line but was about two inches short. Kellen Reah who was backing up picked up the ball and managed to cover the last two inches to score. Just reward for backing his team mate up! Converted by Scott Cartner. 52-10.
All the subs were used and everyone gave a decent account of themselves, most of the time. Scott got MOM & rightly so for super performance. Dan Lambert played well too. Conner Anderson is looking strong on the wing with some powerful runs.
So the best time to learn from your mistakes is when you win comfortably. The scrums were ok and we managed to put pressure on them at times. The line outs were better too. However we sometimes try to force the play when it is not necessary. There are times when we need to take the ball in instead of trying to get a pass away that is not possible. Take the ball in and work through the phases and then use our speed and support play to score.
It might sound a bit hyper critical to say this when we’ve won by 52-10 but now is the time to learn. We will be facing much stronger opposition in the next few weeks where our mistakes will be more severely punished so I know the lads will get together on the training pitch with the coaches to get even better and stronger.
Barnard Castle away next week. Come and support us and get your eyes tested while you are there!!
On the top pitch our 3rds played Whitley Bay Rockcliffe. We had a lot of cry offs so big thank you to Rockcliffe for ensuring the game was played by lending us several players so 30+ blokes all got a game of rugby. This is what it is all about.