POOR START THEN ONLY IF?
Lose in the end.
Firstly, I must apologise for the late report. Annual bowls match yesterday morning then shifting furniture and I was even late for my Sunday lunchtime beverage!
Team as selected with Martyn Heelbeck
still away Cameron Mather came onto the wing with Matty Banning
moving to the centre. New boy Michael Hastie
was making his debut at hooker.
Ponteland is always a difficult fixture and they always try to play open rugby. We have a very young side which is a testament to the work of our youth section but we need experience as well to help guide them through!
So, kick off and after 4 minutes Ponteland have the ball just inside our half and a missed tackle gave them an overlap which they used to score, converted 0-7.
Next 10 minutes was even enough but a clearance was gathered just inside the Gateshead half out wide and the lad stepped through two poor attempts at tackles and again an overlap was made and they scored, converted 0-14! Ponteland had another scoring chance but thankfully they messed it up.
If this generous spirit had carried on it was going to be a bleak day but thankfully digits were extracted and Gateshead got themselves back into the game. After 20 minutes a good line break by Scott Cartner
saw Cameron Mather get the ball out wide with still a bit of work to do which he did well and scored, converted by Scott 7-14. Adam Ridley
had to go off with an elbow injury, so Ross Craig
came on at 9 with Sam Hall
moving to 10.
Continued pressure saw Scott Cartner
kick two penalties to make it 13-14 then Matty Banning
got a try to make it 18-14.
Then in usual Gateshead fashion as half time approached Ponteland got a deserved score to make it 18-19. However, as we approached 50 minutes Matty Banning
got another, converted by Scott to make the half time score 25-19. So not a bad outcome bearing in mind the score after 15 minutes!
Gateshead put the pressure on from the kick off and were awarded a very kickable penalty. This would have made it 28-19 and two scores ahead, always a psychological advantage but a touch kick was opted for and nothing came from it. What happened next was of course Ponteland got the next score, 25-24.
Gateshead had a couple of opportunities where a try looked certain but panic or trying to force the ball meant the tries went begging! Then of course Ponteland scored again through poor ruck defence 25-29.
After 30 minutes Gateshead got a driving lineout were heading for the line the maul went down and the ref awarded a penalty try. Not sure myself but there you go. New law no conversion needed 32-29.
Not having seen a penalty try for ages, having seen one on the top pitch for the 3rd team then ours for the 1st team Ponteland got a driving maul and it went down about 10 metres out and sure enough penalty try awarded. If I wasn’t sure about ours I was even less sure about this one but there you go 32-36. Scott Cartner
was yellow carded for offering his difference of opinion to the ref! Ponteland then got a penalty and they made the right decision to kick 32-39.
Gateshead nearly had a chance at the end but it was not to be. Did we deserve to win? Probably not. Could we have won? Definitely yes!
However, after the first 15 minutes we showed a lot of bottle to get back into it but poor tackling and panicking a bit in attack let us down. The scrum did ok most of the time but faded a bit towards the end. The lineouts ok too. Alex Surrey
again had a good game but more often than not was on his own. Three or four of our forwards were a bit anonymous on Saturday. The backs did look dangerous but missed some chances by trying to force the play instead of the easier option and for once our tackling let us down.
However, this team will get better with the more experience they get. The game was reffed by a guy who I understand had reffed at a higher level. I don’t like criticising refs and they make less mistakes than the players! The Ponteland bench criticised him more or less from the start and often quite loud. If I was a ref and this happened, then when a sub came on who had been slagging me off I would penalise hm just for walking onto the pitch! But I’m not.
Anyway, the ref came into our hospitality room and said that if he was any good he wouldn’t be reffing these two teams! I thought at first it was tongue in cheek but listening to him talk he meant it. So, ref you were right you weren’t very good! Your words not mine!
Whitby next week away! Late bus I believe!