Westoe’s Winter Woes Continue
Northern too Strong for Westoe on the Day
South Shields Westoe entertained Northern on Saturday on a crisp chilly, but dry afternoon. With Northern currently top of the table, Westoe would need to be at their very best to take the win.
The side saw a total of six changes from last week in a continuing revolving door season, which has seen forty players used in the first team so far.
Right from the off the spectators were in for a treat as both sides showed intent in attack and bravery in defence. There was no score for thirty minutes as the teams tried to break down their opposition and take a foot-hold in the proceedings.
Despite some strong individual performances from Westoe, Northern were the more cohesive side and had the best early opportunities.
Strong running from their second-row partnership led to a twenty metre driving maul which was held up short by the home side and a searing break from winger, Tang, almost opened the score but for a dropped pass metres from the line.
As the game ebbed and flowed up and down the Westoe pitch, Northern crossed for the first score of the match after 31 minutes. Remaining patient and ensuring possession, they worked their way through the phases and up the slope to finally cross after several strong drives, touched down by White. 0-5
Northern continued their push and after some slick handling, converted a Westoe penalty. 0-8
The half ended with a Westoe attack. Strong drives from Ryan Lamb and Louis Kellett and fast distribution from Sam Seymour threatened the visitors’ line; however Northern turned the ball over and cleared their lines.
Westoe made things difficult with a high penalty count of eleven against them in the half, including two penalties for talking back to the referee; unforgivable after their recent red card for a similar offence.
In an entertaining half, Northern’s defence stole the show, closing down any threat quickly and forcing Westoe into errors and winning the turnovers. HT – 0-8
Now playing up the slope, Westoe attacked from the start and for the first time looked to be on top. They had an early opportunity; however the penalty attempt went wide of the posts.
A second goal-line attack was again thwarted by Northern’s defence, gaining another turnover and a long clearance was threaded down the line, forcing Westoe to nudge into touch.
A clean take at the line was fed to centre Woodhead, running from deep and picking his line through the defence to score after twelve minutes of the half. 0-13
Five minutes later a break from flanker, Frear split the home side’s defence wide open and a deft offload found Northern scoring again. 0-20
Westoe rallied and came back fighting; however they were unable to break the well organised and determined defense of the visitors.
With less than ten to play, Northern increased their lead with a jinking run from Woodhead, crossing for his second. 0-25
Westoe struck back with a consolation score from Jordan Wright, capping off a solid debut from the ex-South Shields signing. 7-25
Northern showed why they are currently topping the table with an all-out effort in the last few minutes, desperate for the fourth try and valuable bonus point and came away with the prize after stand-out player Tang sprinted fifty metres to score after 40 minutes. FT – 7-32
Westoe performed well against a strong opposition; however must ensure they keep their discipline and keep penalties to a minimum.
Next week they face another huge task when they travel to West Hartlepool and need to come away with a victory to keep in touch with the top four sides. Sitting in fifth spot they will need to learn from recent defeats and resist the forced passes and remain patient in attack.
Positive points included a promising new half-back pairing of Seymour and Arnold, who provided quick ball and caused a few problems for Northern; also some great game-time for several fringe players who will have learnt some valuable lessons from the match against a well-drilled side.