Heart and spirit not quite enough
Must win game slipped out of our grasp
Our third game in eight days saw us entertaining the high-flying South Shields Westoe at Broadway West. The warm weather of last weekend had been superceded by a VERY chilly wind, although the forecasted showers thankfully never materialised. This latest game saw the usual numerous changes with GRFC desperate to erase some hurtful memories from our last meeting with SSW.
Visitors S S Westoe kicked off into the strong breeze and after some early exchanges they took a five point lead wide out through their left winger. Gos had a chance to reduce that lead with a penalty kick by fly-half, Mark Anderson
, but the tricky wind took his attempt wide. This didn't deter the hosts, who levelled the score on 19 minutes, when Paddy Smith powered round the outside to score in the corner. Mark again failed to convert with a very difficult kick. On 24 minutes SSW retook the lead with their centre skipping through some flimsy defence to score by the posts and the conversion was successful to give a 5-12 scoreline. This only served to inspire Gos with their much improved spirit to the fore. Skipper, Andy Black
, dispossessed a SSW forward in mid-field and the ball quickly found the supporting Mat Struthers there to scorch over under the posts. Mark Anderson
converted to level the scores on 29 minutes. GRFC were still not finished! Creating some space out wide winger, Ryan Gillespie
, outpaced the defence to score in the corner for an unconverted try. 17-12 to GRFC. There was still time for a bonus point fourth try, again out wide, by the over-lapping full-back, Mat Struthers, leaving the half-time score at 22-12!
The second-half started with Gos kicking into a strong breeze with a mountain to climb to hold on for that crucial five point win. Despite a couple of highly promising scoring opportunities, which failed very narrowly, the latter effort being a lost ball over the line by Ryan Gillespie
. To add insult to injury the resulting five metre scrum saw SSW go down the blindside and their winger sped away to score a 95 metre try under the posts, which was converted on 53 minutes. 22-19. Things got worse for the hosts three minutes later, when a lost home line-out led to another converted try under the posts to see the hard-earned half-time lead disappear. 22-26. The SSW purple patch continued four minutes later, when an unfortunate, dropped ball in front of the posts landed in a SSW pair of hands to add another converted try under the posts. 22-33. Those seven minutes proved decisive as far as GRFC's fading hopes of league survival were concerned. Another torrid fifteen minutes passed with Gos desperately trying to score a fifth try. Unsuccessfully as it turned out, as SSW pounded away to cross in the left-hand corner. 22-38 with five minutes to go. The half continued in the same groove with a last second converted try for SSW to leave the score at 22-45, which their alickadoes admitting that it flattered them somewhat. Gos had made a great effort but came up short. The win saw SSW retake the coveted second place in the league and Gosforth looking forward to travelling far and wide in D&N2 next season. Still one game to go - this time against local rivals, Novos. With nothing to lose for either side, we can look forward to an enjoyable end to this traumatic, weather-spoiled season.