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First XV - Match centre

Sat 14 Apr 15:00 - Northern Division - Durham & Northumberland 1 Full time

Heed 28 Guis 7

Report by Ian Hewson

At last! The sun was shining as Guisborough took to the field in their clash away at Gateshead.

Kicking off proceedings, Gateshead were soon on the attack and pressing for the first score of the afternoon. They thought they had got it when a midfield combination saw one of their centres crash through under the posts, but the referee had spotted a forward pass.

Further attacks saw the home team go close on a couple of occasions in the right hand corner before the inevitable happened.

From a line-out 30 metres out, Gateshead attacked along the left wing. Taking play up to the Guisborough try-line, recycled ball reached the midfield where the hosts crashed through to score under the posts, making the conversion a formality.

Eventually the visitors took play into the home team half following Sam Whyman’s long kick downfield. Forcing a mistake by Gateshead, Guisborough won possession at the resulting scrum. Mark Ferguson received the ball from Jack Robinson on the left wing, but he was bundled into touch as he entered the home team’s 22.

Gateshead continued to be dominant territorially, but excellent tackling meant they were not adding to the score line. A particularly thunderous tackle by James Clark was applauded by the visiting supporters.

Tony Conway was also being a menace at the scrum set-piece, disrupting play by putting his opposite number under pressure.

Another good hit by Whyman, led to Rob Leggott turning over possession. Oli Taggart moved forward before Clark and Robinson moved play into the Gateshead 22. A long pass to the left would have given Ferguson space in front of him, but an interception was just spilled by the hosts.

A backs to the wall half finished with the scoreboard reading: Gateshead 7 points, Guisborough 0 points.

The Priorymen had a dream start to the second half. Leggott caught the ball from the kick off and passed to Ferguson. The winger took play into the Gateshead 22 where the forwards took over. Taggart and Chris Hodgson set play up and recycled ball was passed from Whyman to Robinson. Drifting wide to the right, the full-back spotted a gap and darted over to score. Clark added the conversion to level the scores.

The score sparked Gateshead into action and it was not long before they regained their lead. Their ever dangerous centre broke through the visitors’ defence before offloading to a supporting back row player who ran over to score. The conversion was added.

Guisborough were in no mood to buckle. A superb break from a line-out by Conway saw the scrum-half sprint from his 10 metre line up to the hosts’ 22. Clark continued the attack with a well weighted cross field kick which was collected by Ferguson, but with the whitewash staring at him he unfortunately stumbled on the tacky surface and fell short of the try-line.

A further foray towards the Gateshead line by Adam O’Malley nearly saw another try to the visitors, but an infringement was spotted by the match official and the home team cleared any danger.

Gateshead slowly took control of the game again and after a swift attack were awarded a scrum 5 metres from the Guisborough line. From the set-piece the ball reached the left wing where a try was scored in the corner. A difficult conversion stretched their lead.

With time running out, Guisborough could not break from their defensive areas and it was only some sound tackling that was stopping the home team adding further points. With the 80 minutes up, Gateshead had one last attack. Passing the ball to the right wing, a switch back inside saw the home team gain a bonus point try which was duly converted.

With only time to kick off from the score, the ball reached touch and the game ended with the score reading: Gateshead 28 points, Guisborough 7 points.

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League table

# Team Pl Pts
8. Stockton 25 51
9. Novocastrians 24 50
10. Guisborough 24 49
11. Medicals 26 44
12. Ponteland 26 43
13. Gosforth 26 40
14. Redcar 26 23

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