Horden bounced back to winning ways against Durham City on a glorious spring morning on the coast.
Buoyed by the return of Butch Foster at Openside following his Carribbean cruise, Horden were looking for an improvement on last week's dismal display against Morpeth. Having met city only 6 weeks ago, Horden knew their work was cut out today.
Unavailability of Alex Key, mean Aaron Stott switched from pop to number 8, allowing Andrew Bartles-Smith to start at prop.
Durham City started the better team and looked to get into Horden from the start. City had all of the field position, however as has been proved throughout this season, Horden are dangerous on the break and so it proved as they ran the ball from deep and clinically took the lead against the run of play.
City's response was immediate and their territory was finally rewarded through a close range try from one of their forwards following a tap penalty. City looked to press further however good defence from the Horden midfield kept them at bay and forced knock ons and turnovers - Bok Edwards once again leading the line with a crunching tackle on the City centre.
City did take the lead through a scrappy try from Horden's point of view. Scrum half Jonna Crake dummied at the base under pressure and made a gap but tried to get the offoad away - which was intercepted. Horden looked to have fielded possesion of the ball after the tackle had been made, however somehow a City player managed to pick the ball up from the base of the ruck and touch down over the line.
Horden 5-10 Durham City
Mutch like the did in the last meeting, Horden rallied at half time and produced a far better second half performance, and it wasnt long before they regained the lead. Following barraging runs from the forwards into the City 22, fly half Ben Crake fed Butch Foster who crashed over the line from 10 yards and managed to wriggle free to put the ball down over the line and continue his habbit of scoring against his former club. Crake added the extras.
Back came Durham City who made their way into the Horden 22. Following a knock on in contact, Fly half Crake collected and punted the ball deep into the City half. With no-one at home, it was a foot race between Crake and the City covering defender. Crake showed his footballing skills by grubbering over the line and diving on the ball JUST before it went dead for a well taken solo try.
The best was yet to come from Horden and man of the match Darren Edwards scored a beauty to reward his midfield dominance. Following a solid scrum in midfield, Crake sucked the defenders in, not before releasing Edwards who sailed through the gap in the City defence and outpace the fullback on the outside to go over in the corner. Great try!!!!
Horden were now on top and playing good rugby, however it was a scrappy try that sealed the win for Horden. The ball flew out the back of a ruck just inside the City 22 and powerful number 8 Stott collected, threw a dummy to beat the first City defender and raced clear to score under the posts. Perhaps harsh on City who were always in the game and looked threatening going through the phases.
City did manage to get a consoltation try through their winger who finished well out wide, however it was Horden who had the last say in matters when Horden captain Chris Wood broke blind from a rolling maul and raced down the touchline from 20 yards.
Horden 36-15 Durham City
Mutch better second half performance from Horden. Cook was excellent in defence from the back of the scrum and negated any City blindside set piece moves. Jonna Crake was good at scrum half and made countless ackles in open play.............. And Jared caught the ball twice :-)
Still definate room for improvement. Onwards and upwards.