Ponteland 31 Guis 17
Report by Ian Hewson
In conditions perfect for watching rugby, Guisborough travelled to Ponteland for their final away game of the season.
The visitors kicked off proceedings and it was immediately apparent that both teams were going to play open, attacking rugby.
It was Guisborough who started the brighter of the two teams and were just increasing pressure on their opponents, when a penalty was awarded to Ponteland in their 22. A quick-tap caught the visitors on the back foot and the ball was moved swiftly to the left wing, where a strong run by a Ponteland back row player took play towards the Guisborough 22. A pass inside to his winger saw the first try of the match scored, though the conversion was missed.
Guisborough took play back into their opponents’ territory after Liam Corcoran broke through the midfield from a line-out. Alex Ruff continued forward momentum into the Ponteland 22. A couple of attempts to breach the Ponteland defence by James Clark and Mark Ferguson were thwarted before Ponteland cleared their lines.
The game was being played at a terrific pace, from one end of the pitch to the other. Whilst in Guisborough’s 22, Jack Robinson kicked the ball clear and collected it on the bounce. Running through the midfield he was tackled on the Ponteland 10 metre line.
It was the hosts who had a chance to extend their lead when they elected to kick a penalty 25 metres out and in front of the posts, but the attempt drifted wide.
Given a reprieve, Guisborough stormed back to score. From a scrum on their 10 metre line Robinson broke through midfield and into the Ponteland 22. The pack piled forward towards the line, where a penalty was awarded. A quick tap by Corcoran saw him stopped just short. Clark was held up on the line, but Adam O’Malley was on hand to dive over and score. Clark’s kick was wide of its target.
Ponteland regained the lead almost immediately, when they were awarded a penalty 20 metres out and in front of the posts. This time the kick sailed through the posts.
It was then Guisborough’s turn to be given a penalty within kickable distance, but Clark pulled the kick wide.
Back came the Priorymen though. Clark kicked long downfield to within 15 metres of the line. Any chance of a score seemed to have disappeared when the hosts won the set piece and ran out of defence. However, Guisborough won turnover ball and the ever dangerous Robinson scythed through the Ponteland defence to score under the posts. Clark added the extras.
Robinson was at it again from the re-start. Making the initial break he linked up with Ferguson, who burst into the opposition half. Gareth Lodge took play up the centre of the pitch, but as recycled ball was collected, a penalty was conceded at the breakdown.
This gave Ponteland the chance to launch one last attack before half-time. Taking play into the Guisborough half, a penalty 35 metres out was successfully kicked to reduce the home team arrears. At half-time the scoreboard read: Ponteland 11 points, Guisborough 12 points.
Ponteland gained the lead at the beginning of the second half, when they kicked a third penalty from 20 metres out.
Leggott was giving a masterclass in the art of catching the ball from the re-start as he won an aerial challenge before feeding O’Malley. Switching play wide to the right, Michael Suthers came back inside from his wing, winning a penalty on the opposition 22. Unfortunately the kick at goal was wide of the target.
It wasn’t too long before Guisborough regained the lead. Leggott won a turnover and play moved from the left wing to the right. Robinson and Ruff came within touching distance of the whitewash, before Corcoran was on hand to crash over in the corner to score. A difficult conversion was missed.
The home team were given a further chance to kick at goal. It went wide of the target where Ferguson collected and ran the ball out to half-way before a high tackle brought him down. Kicking the penalty to touch, the line-out was won. Tony Conway spotted a gap and broke into the Ponteland 22, but possession was lost at the breakdown.
From being in control of the game, the visitors were suddenly put on the back foot. Ponteland broke along the left wing and drove towards the Guisborough line. Here the visitors won a scrum. Conway ran the ball out of defence and was caught with a tap-tackle as he sprinted upfield. His attempted pass out of the tackle was intercepted and a swift attack along the right wing ended with a try in the corner.
The home team finished the stronger of the two teams. A sharp break along the left wing, by a second row forward, from deep inside their half soon saw them accelerating into the Guisborough 22 where good support play saw Ponteland score under the posts. The conversion extended their lead.
And it was Ponteland who finished off the scoring when their scrum half made a diagonal run towards the right wing and up towards the try-line. A couple of charges at the line were halted before Guisborough’s defence was breached and the home team got their bonus point try.
One last phase by Guisborough saw Ferguson attacking along the left wing, but he was bundled into touch 5 metres out, and this brought an end to the game with the final score reading: Ponteland 31 points, Guisborough 17 points.