Blunderbuss or rapier? Choose your weapon to suit
Pont beat Bishop four tries to two to record a 29-26 victory
On a gloriously sunny day Pont lined up against a bulky Bishop Auckland team. GB Moller joined the list of injured players as Beswick slotted into 7. With raucous support from the well lubricated home supporters Bishop immediately attacked the visitors. An offside from the kick off gave the home team the lead 0-3 (1 min). Bishops game plan was clear as they put big runners short, crashing into Ponteland's defence. Their scrum got the upper hand early on and a scrum penalty made it 0-6 ( 8 min) Pont didn't help themselves as they struggled to put phases together and their kicking out of hand was poor. Pont continued to defend gallantly as Bishop poured forward. Further pressure produced another penalty 0-9 ( 26 min) whilst it had been all Bishop up to this point they had not threatened the visitors line as constantly ferocious defending kept them at bay.
Finally Pont played patient rugby and a 15 metre catch and drive at the lineout saw Beswick touch down. A touchline conversion by Chick made it 7-9 ( 32 min) From the kick off Pont were penalised 7-12 (33 min) Pont were now starting to show glimpses of a team that had scored 14 tries in the last two games as the back line out ran the opposition with Walton over in the corner 12-12 (37 min) HT
The second half started with a yellow for Freer as Pont again were given short shrift by the Durham ref. Bishop pored forward and forced their way over for a converted try 12-19 (46 min) . Gallant tackling kept Bishop at bay until Freer returned to the fray. Having soaked up constant pressure Pont now turned the tables. The young , athletic Pont players now started to find space and began to wreak havoc in open space. Slick hands put Pont 20 metres out. A catch and drive from the line out saw Pont shunt the home team backwards until the drive mysteriously collapsed just short of the line- scrum to Bishop!!! ( why are refs scared to deal properly with the offence and award the penalty try?? ) Pont continued to press and an identical line out drive on the other side of the pitch saw Bishop penalised again. Pont took the line out again. A further infringement saw a yellow to the home team. Same again, drive collapsed- penalty. Same again and this time Pont got over the line for a Mew try. Chick again converted from out wide 19-19 ( 60 min). The rapier was now out as Taylor, Long, Beswick et al were running amok. A sweeping set of inter passing saw Chick offload to skipper Jonny LE . A 20 metre dash saw him unopposed under the posts- a splash dash was performed but it was more like a flop drop as his knees and belly hit the floor before the ball! Chick again added the points 26-19 ( 66 min). It was now the home team's turn for last minute tackling as Pont surged forward for the kill. Excellent steals and turn overs by old man Freer kept Pont in front and a difficult penalty 30 metres out was slotted by Chick to make the lead unassailable 29-19 (79 min) . With 8 minutes of added on Bishop received three successive penalties marching Pont down the field to record a last gap try 29-26 (87 min)
Ponteland's youngsters came of age as they weathered a rocky start against a wound up,physical side. They soaked up the pressure and then stretched out worthy winners.
As a member of the coaching staff said
"We wanted to back up all the work off the field for this game with a really good performance, and we knew if we kept playing some good rugby then we would give ourselves a good chance.
"I knew we would fire. Our preparation this week was one of the best we've had. Being on the back foot, we couldn't go into our shells, and there was real belief in the second half. Everyone played their part"