1 month ago
By Paul I'Anson
An important win and 5 points for Acklam
After some tough recent fixtures Acklam were very happy to earn a bonus point win against Ponteland which keeps them well clear of the relegation places.
Acklam played against the wind first and for much of the half they created chances but were unable to finish them off against a Ponteland side who were keen to latch on to the home team's errors and launch counter attacks of their own.
After 10 minutes openside Theo Guignard went through but his pass to Josh Abraham was just behind him and the winger was stopped, with Ponteland able to win the ball and clear their lines. Then second row Paddy O'Brien stole the visitors ' line out ball just outside Acklam's 22 and made a great run 50 metres downfield, only for his side to be penalised at the breakdown. The pattern continued as Acklam worked a clear overlap but were frustrated by a knock on.
Finally Acklam were able to break the deadlock thanks to a remarkable piece of handling by winger Andy Dunn - with Acklam again on the attack he managed to take the ball behind his back and then passed, once more behind his back, to centre Marcus Sudron who looped around on the outside then stepped inside the last defender for a lovely try.
However, Ponteland came back strongly and after Acklam were caught offside in front of their posts the visitors kicked the penalty to make it 5-3. Acklam finished the half on the back foot but held out to take just a narrow two point lead into the break.
Acklam kicked the restart to the visitors who kept possession for a few minutes without managing to threaten the home line. Then when Acklam eventually got their hands on the ball they passed it out to Abraham who powerfully burst inside several would be tacklers to score under the posts. Stand off Danny Ashton kicked the conversion.
A few minutes later Acklam won a scrum in the visitors ' half after a Ponteland player was held up in a maul. O'Brien, now playing in the back row, broke from the scrum and exchanged passes with centre Ricky Scott and Ashton chipped over and regathered, then offloaded to the supporting Sudron to score another great try between the posts. Again Ashton added the conversion and Acklam were suddenly looking comfortable at 19-3.
However, not for the first time this season, Acklam were hampered by ill discipline - after a Ponteland player ran the ball back through some poor defence he was felled by Acklam prop Jordan Rae who received a yellow card for a high tackle. The visitors were able to take advantage and although their line out was overthrown they won the ball on the floor and it went wide for centre Elliot Blain to score. The conversion was kicked and the visitors felt they were back in the game at 19-10.
However, when Acklam regained their full complement they were soon back on the attack. After a strong line out peel by lock Tim Savage they forced a scrum near the visitors ' line, from which they went wide only to lose the ball. Acklam weren't to be denied however - after Ponteland dropped the ball trying to run from deep the home side found Abraham again. This time he took the outside route, handing off 3 defenders to score his second and Acklam's bonus point try.
Shortly before the end young winger Jacob Robinson came on for his first team debut and thought he had scored after chasing an Ashton kick through, only to be penalised for pushing a Ponteland defender before he touched down. Abraham then completed a fine individual performance by snuffing out a dangerous Ponteland break with a great cover tackle. The game ended in a 26-10 win and 5 important points for Acklam.
This result will stand them in good stead when they start the second half of the season with a tough visit to Barnard Castle next week.
Updated 10:56 - 15 Jan 2019 by Mark Collins