WASHINGTON V HARTLEPOOL BBOB
A WIN AT LAST FOR BBOB
Durham-Northumberland Div. 3
Washington 13 B.B.O.B. 14
Following a promising start to the season, Brigade have gone six games without a win so there was good reason to celebrate the narrowest of victories at Washington.
With a Spanish lady exchange referee in charge, the Brigade lads were keen to impress but did need reminders from skipper Arnell to concentrate on the game.
After a period of heavy rain the pitch was a mudbath and it was clear that the side who managed the conditions would be most successful.
Play was evenly matched during a first half which featured numerous handling errors and frequent scrums. Both sides defended well before Washington took the lead in the thirty fifth minute with an unconverted try. Brigade responded immediately, pushing play into the home 22 with a series of forward drives to gain a scrum five metres from the line. The ball was cleanly won and the home pack driven back, allowing number eight Davies to ground the ball. Despite the conditions, Chris Corkin's conversion kick from right of the posts just cleared the bar to give Brigade a two point half-time advantage. Full back Aaron Donnison was forced to retire with a knee injury with Cooke moving from the wing to replace him and Southgate taking the field.
Washington regained the lead with a penalty and began to dominate play in mid-field with effective forward play. Brigade had to work hard in defence and good work by the Egglestone brothers and fellow forwards Craggs, Scott and Coverdale thwarted a number of attacks. The pressure finally told and Washington gained their second unconverted try and a six point lead.
Brigade maintained their efforts in defence and with the home forwards tiring, pushed play into the Washington half to stage a dramatic conclusion to the game. Robson and O'Donovan were quick to close down the Washington defence, forcing errors which the Brigade eight were keen to exploit.
From a well executed line-out, a driving maul took Brigade down the left flank from the 22 and although progress was halted, Arnell managed to move the ball in-field for his threes to challenge again. Washington resisted but infringement gave Brigade the penalty in front of the posts.
With just minutes remaining, Arnell elected to take the opportunity to clinch the game, feeding Davies who's burst took him through the tackle and under the posts.
An early charge at the conversion attempt gave Chris Corkin an easier opportunity and despite the pressure, the kick was successful.
However Brigade had to defend a number of home offensives which threatened to overturn a hard earned lead and the final whistle was greeted with a sense of achievement and relief.