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1st XV - Match centre

South Shields Westoe
Gateshead
Wed 11 Apr 18:00 - Northern Division - Durham & Northumberland 1 Full time

DAMN GOOD EFFORT

Team spirit good.

So rearranged fixture on a Wednesday night at Westoe. I will still call them Westoe despite their new title as Kevin F Bannon still calls is the ‘Fell’! It is also much shorter. 6.30 sharp as the light isn’t exactly brilliant at the moment. Well my journey was slow as every light I hit was on red and I am sure that someone was sticking in extra lights just to P me off!
We had a few unavailabilities and probably the shortest back row in the league selected but hey ho I was sure the lads would all get stuck in.
Down the hill first and the game was pretty even for the first 15 minutes. Westoe had a big set of forwards and they would be used to good effect.
Penalty against Gateshead kicked to the corner, catch, drive and try. A little too easy. Converted 0-7.
Gateshead got straight back into the game and after a series of recycled possession David Tate got the ball on the half way line and with various options of what to do he went off on a tremendous run and scored a belter of a try. I do the believe the ref said ‘ it’s a good job you were running down the hill at your age!’ 5-7.
Gateshead continued on the attack and what was looking promising in the Westoe 22 turned into an interception and the lad legged it up the pitch. Scott Cartner gave chase and nearly caught him but to no avail the support was there for him and they scored & converted 5-14.
The Westoe forwards were driving well and in particular their tight head who made several powerful runs. Westoe scored again after some loose tackling along the touch line. 5-19. Half time.
So up the hill second half. Westoe forwards were dominating the loose play and it was looking ominous for Gateshead. However, a dropped ball in the Gateshead 22 was picked up and some good hands saw Conner Anderson repay the compliment from the first half and score and converted by Scott Cartner.
Westoe replied with some powerful play and they scored two tries to make it 12-31. Gateshead could have folded here but they didn’t they got stuck in and gave as good as they got. Scott Cartner was looking like his old self with some cracking breaks that had Westoe in a quandary. Even veteran David Tate was able to make the odd break up the hill!!
After some good pressure and good hands Gateshead scored another great try through Conner again to make it 17-31. Westoe had a man yellow carded in the Gateshead 22 for stopping a Gateshead counter attack, a little harsh I thought. Then a few minutes later there was a penalty given against Gateshead and a bout of handbags ensued. However, one if the Westoe lads grabbed a Gateshead lad from behind around the neck and threw him to the ground and right in front of the ref. Another yellow card for gross stupidity! I hope his mates fined him!
Gateshead tried to get another score but didn’t manage to do so and the game finished 17-31 to Westoe. Westoe thoroughly deserved their win and their powerful running took its toll on the Gateshead defence who tackled very well indeed. The game was well reffed by Gareth Foreman.
There were two points where Gateshead could have made a difference to the game for them and possibly the score line as well. Receiving kick offs! Every time Westoe kicked off it was a case of ‘your ball’ and put us under pressure instead of gaining possession and getting back up the park. We also had 6 or 7 penalties where we kicked deep into the Westoe 22 and we only won one line out from them. We might well have another score or two.
Despite that the team played as a team and got stuck in. I suspect that some of our supporters were expecting us to get a good howking but a good effort meant it was a good game to watch and an overall good team performance. The ‘small’ back row got stuck in and that didn’t change when Matty Cooper came on as well. Drew Carr put himself about and had a good game. Whilst everyone tackled well skipper Martyn Heelbeck put in some tremendous work in defence.
I couldn’t accept the Westoe hospitality as I had prior arrangements but as always we were well received. I missed the minutes silence for Bill Dodds who whilst a Westoe man was a great friend of both Gateshead Fell & Gateshead. RIP Bill.
Guisborough at home Saturday.

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League table

# Team Pl Pts
1. Consett 26 111
2. Durham City 26 111
3. South Shields Westoe 26 108
4. Barnard Castle 25 103
5. Horden and Peterlee 26 71
6. Gateshead 24 60
7. Hartlepool Rovers 26 57

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