A minutes silence preceded the game to mark the passing of former Seaton stalwart Les Whitehead.
Seaton kicked off the match with the sun shining and the pitch in perfect condition but a strong, cold wind blowing across it. Horden took the ball and made ground slowly but surely up to the Seaton 22. The early scrums went Horden's way and their heavier pack always looked threatening. In contrast Seaton's younger and faster forwards were quick to cover any breaks and hold Horden up but didn't get their hands on much of the ball.
Seaton had a lucky break on 10 minutes when Tom Addison
's attempted clearance was charged down on the 5 metre line but Liam Wood
saved the full backs blushes by diving on the ball over the line before the Horden backs could reach it for a 22 meter drop out.
After what seemed like 15 minutes of constant Horden possession in the Seaton 22 the visitors made the pressure tell with Seaton penalised for hands in the ruck. Horden kicked the resulting penalty to make it Seaton 0 Horden 3.
Seaton did manage to see a bit of the ball after the restart but the poor handling and penalties which have been a feature of their game in recent weeks continued to haunt them as possession was handed back to Horden cheaply time after time.
Horden should have increased their lead on 22 minutes when they drove over from a 5 metre scrum but the referee judged them to have knocked on as they crossed the line. The respite was short lived though when Horden collected a poor Seaton clearance and again their forwards forced their way over the line for a converted try to make it Seaton 0 Horden 10.
The try finally stung Seaton into action and they forced Horden to turn the ball over from the resulting kick off. Good handling in the backs saw both John Taylor and Liam Wood
make progress but more importantly stretch the Horden defence. In what was Seaton's first spell of possession in the Horden half quick recycling of the ball allowed Wayne Wild
to power through a couple of Horden tackles to score an unconverted try out wide to make it Seaton 5 Horden 10.
From the restart Seaton again took the ball forward at pace but good Horden tackling and cover kept the game around the 10 metre line. Seaton took the lead on 34 minutes with a bit of individual skill by John Taylor as he weaved through the Horden backs to run 22 metres to score under the posts. Tom Addison
converting to make it Seaton 12 Horden 10.
The remainder of the half again saw Horden camped in the Seaton 22 but with the game progressing the younger Seaton forwards were able to keep them out.
Half time Seaton 12 Horden 10.
Horden kicked off the 2nd half playing down the slope and kept up the early pressure on Seaton. Kev Brallisford
's introduction into the Seaton front row tightened up the scrum and made for a more even contest denying Horden the clean ball they had enjoyed in the first half.
Seaton always looked threatening in the backs and good individual runs by Liam Wood
, Ian Cambridge
and John Taylor pushed Horden back close to their own line. On 47 minutes Seaton set up a ruck on the Horden 5 metre line, the ball was passed out to Josh Slater
who managed to power through and score next to the posts. Tom Addison
converting to make it Seaton 19 Horden 10.
The game settled into a pattern of Horden keeping the ball and making progress through the forwards but whenever they lost the ball the Seaton backs ran them back into their own 22. This resulted in a try for John Taylor on 59 minutes when he collected a Horden clearing kick close to the half way line. With the crowd shouting him to break wide he flat footed the Horden defence by cutting back inside and ran through to score under the posts. Tom Addison
converting to make it Seaton 26 Horden 10.
The remainder of game followed the same pattern with neither team looking particularly threatening. Horden probably enjoyed the majority of possession over the 80 minutes but with Seaton's younger forwards and quicker backs looking the more like to score.
Full time Seaton 26 Horden 10.
Man of the match was a difficult decision in a game when nobody really stood out. Candidates were Scott Burniston for his never ending tackling, John Taylor for his 2 tries but I've selected Liam Wood
who never stopped running at the Horden defence and who created a lot of the space for others to score their tries.