We welcomed Houghton to Belle Vue for our last home game of the season due to the works to the clubhouse. For the first time in a long time, we had virtually all of our squad available for selection, lining up; 1.Conall Ruddick 2.Joe Hull 3. Ciaran Horgan (c) 4. Scott Redshaw 5.Matthew Gunnion 6.Keiran Dover 7.Bradley Smith 8.Christy Wood 9.Nathan Williamson 10.Daniel Smith 11.Luke Clarke 12.Sam Veever 13.Mati Gorsk 14. Tommy Tennant 15.Dillan Telford with the replacements being Alex Goldsmith, Daniel Vine, Michael Justice, Josh Jelly and John Brown.
Whilst the ground conditions were good for playing rugby, the fog certainly wasn't good for watching rugby! Typically, the majority of the first half action seemed to be on the opposide of the pitch, making it difficult to see what was going on a lot of the time. This even affected the ref, who stopped play for an infringement, which he described as 'I'll be honest lads, I didn't see what happened'! Only joking sir, you had a great game!! All joking aside, Consett raced into a 10-0 lead with trys from Matthew (with his first for the club) and Joe, both trys the result of several good phases of forward play. Despite dominating the majority of the half, the score line remained 10-0 at half time.
The half time message was to just keep doing what we were doing well and to try and get the ball out the backs a bit more often as we created good overlaps on a number of occassions but didn't take advantage of them (maybe the lads couldn't see these overlaps because of the fog!).
The second half continued in much the way the first half had panned out and we added two trys in quick succession through Joe. This was the signal to make some changes with all of the replacements coming on over a 5 minute period. However, this did not affect our rhythm and we added a further two trys with Joe getting one and Nathan getting his first try for the club from scrum half with a great dummy and dart for the line, with Brad getting one conversion. With a couple of the trys we showed great strength to get over the line as it looked like we could be held but the support play was brilliant to drive the ball ovet the line. Houghton got a consolation try and conversion in the last few minutes to make the final score 32-7.
The last time we faced Houghton we won the game 44-26 and the message before the game was to not be complacent and to do try and improve on the last time we played them. We also wanted to put last weeks disappointing performance behind us. The lads can be proud that they achieved all of these objectives as it was obvious throughout the game that Houghton had improved at the breakdown since we last played them 6 weeks or so ago. We have also improved defensively since that game as Houghton also have some useful backs so the fact that we limited them to one try shows our improvement in that area.
Man of the match was difficult again this week with the whole team pulling together well but special mention must go to Dover at flanker for his tacking and support play and Dan who did well organising the backs at fly half. Joe also did well getting four trys and this would normally put you up there for man of the match but todays man of the match goes to Matthew Gunnion. He did excellent today, with some great pick and goes and the powerful runs he was making made great ground throughout the game. There was a good crowd of spectators from both sides to watch what turned out to be a good competitive game of rugby, so a big thank you from the lads for the support received throughout the game. Well done lads, lets finish the season on a high.