Sunday 9 October 2011
Ponteland RUFC 0- 24 Durham City RUFC
Another trip North and another potentially tough fixture against decent opponents, who were incidentally, the last team to defeat City back in February 2009. City travelled to the picturesque town of Ponteland, within touching distance of the runway of Newcastle Airport. It was a damp, breezy day but after Ponteland kicked off it was City who immediately took off, when they snatched the ball at an early Ponteland line out. Ross Draper quickly fed alex bielby
who smartly off loaded to Ryan Cooper; he seemed jet propelled as he left Ponteland’s defences floundering in his slip stream and sprinted to the line for 5 nil. Tyler Clayton converted from in front of the posts to edge to 7 points.
Ponteland came straight back into it and began to exert pressure. But ironically City broke again after losing their own line out. Again Draper was well placed to sweep up the ball at the breakdown and he fed Billy Hart whose strength made valuable ground. Cooper was again the wide option and this time he was afforded too much space and ran in for 12 nil, which alas he could not convert. Not surprisingly this stung Ponteland, who again came back into it, possession and territory ebbing and flowing for a good 10 minutes. But again City made the decisive break, this time the result of a text book line out, again smartly collected by Draper, having a fine game at fly half. Draper again fed Bielby at inside centre and he committed his markers to offload to Cooper. This time Cooper side stepped his opponents and again his pace took him free under the posts, which Clayton converted to make it 19 points to nil.
Ponteland restarted with a kick of good height and length, but this was expertly taken by Joe Thubron at scrum half, who made a fine catch and turned inside in one smooth movement to feed Michael Walton
charging up behind him. Walton’s power made considerable ground and a timely pass to Bielby, exerting considerable influence in midfield, who again drew in his markers and then passed to Cooper who did the rest for his fourth try of the half. This time Clayton’s kick was gamely charged down by opponents who were beginning to look frustrated and bedraggled. Half time arrived with the score already at a decisive 24 points to nil to City.
City restarted after making a number of replacements and any thoughts that they would take their foot off the gas were banished as they continued to take the game to physical opponents. After a series of infringements by both sides the referee sensibly spoke to both captains to emphasise the need to keep the physicality within the rules of the game. As in previous weeks it became a forwards battle, and the rare snatches of running rugby were being played by City. There continued to be real needle to the game, with Robert McAnaney successfully getting to his opposite number at scrum half whose frustrations were there for all to see.
Ponteland came back gamely and spent the latter stages of the game virtually parked in City’s half. But City were equally intent on not letting them pass, holding up powerful Ponteland drives perilously close to their own line on two occasions. Tom Elliott provided one brief relief of pressure with a powerful break into Ponteland’s half, but the referee blew for full time just as tempers again became frayed near the City line. Another fine performance had seen City vanquish their last conquerors by 24 points to nil, the big surprise being the unchanged score board during the entire second half.
This was another tough, physical test which City again passed with flying colours. They played in brief but devastating snatches against a Ponteland team who never gave up the ghost. There were also some real, powerful one to one exchanges and to City and Ponteland’s credit they kept on the right side of the laws of the game.
This seasons’ squad:
, Jonathan Edes
, Billy Hart, Adam Redman, Robert McAnaney, David Metcalf, Olly Barker, Josh Renwick, Conrad Cade, Tom Elliott, alex bielby
, Tom Pallister
, Ryan Cooper, Ross Draper, Mark Davison
, Jacob Morgan, Alex Brown, Tyler Clayton, Michael Walton
, Liam Tennick, sam laurie
, Adam John, Alex Duke, Joseph Thubron, Toby Hollingsworth, Lloyd Purser
, Danny Atkinson.