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1st XV - Match centre

Gateshead
Acklam
Sat 23 Feb 14:15 - Northern Division - Durham/ Northumberland Division one Full time

A GAME OF THREE HALVES!

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Five point bonus win climbs us up the table.

This was the rearranged game of a rearranged game! Chairman of rugby had targeted this game as a win so the pressure was on.
Team as selected with Chris Owen at 9 for his first 1st team game in a good while so good to see him back.
It was a lovely day with a little wind as is customary on a Saturday. Gateshead were against the wind in the first half. Good start with David Tate getting another try and a cracker it was, converted by Scott 7-0.
As is our tradition we let a try in almost immediately 7-7. Back on the attack and some decent movement with Martin Pluskal breaking from the scrum, ball recycled and Conner Anderson finishing off on the left wing. 12-7.
Gateshead were still not firing on all cylinders and Acklam kicked a penalty but after a good line out drive Mickey Ewart picked up and dived over. 17-10
Then from a scrum about 40 meters out they made a break and the ball was popped to their big centre who wandered through with our lads looking at each other, drew the last man and scored, converted and followed by a penalty so at half time 17-20. So what had started so promising had faded away a bit.
Alex Ferguson’s ‘Hairdryer’ treatment was needed at half time!
So wind behind us in second half. After a bit of changing possession Johnny Foster got the ball in his 22 and belted in down the park. It took us into the Acklam 22 and for the next 10-15 minutes they couldn’t get out. Mind it felt at one stage a little like the end of the Horden game where battered their line but couldn’t score. However Johnny Foster sorted that out as he stepped inside and dived over, converted by Scott and then a penalty by Scott 27-20.
Acklam were game and they kept at it and their support work was really good but they were tiring. Gateshead got a line out about 25 meters out. Catch and drive and they were heading towards the line with Alex Surrey in firm control and the back of the pack. Just as they got to the line Conner Anderson nipped in and pinched the ball and got the score. 32-20. I hope Surrey was fined for allowing one of the girls to score a forwards try!!
Scott Cartner finished off the scoring with a typical Scott try with pace and change of direction, converted himself and the game finished at 39-20.
So a bonus point win which takes us up to the heady heights of 9th and Chairman of rugby Paul Copper was all smiles!
It was good to see Cameron Nyambega back who came on for Ollie O’Conner with Adam Ridley & Scott Wilczek also getting on and playing their part.
So thankfully the 2nd half was a much better performance and it had to be otherwise we would have lost! Acklam as I said earlier were not a bad side and they looked like they will always score tries. I don’t think anyone was particularly outstanding but just about everyone played their part at some stage. At times the tackling was excellent but occasional lapses were costly.
So no complaints in the end, six tries & a five point win and up the table.
I mentioned a game of three halves. Well the 3rd half was the England game watched in the clubhouse. Any smiles we had after our game were firmly put to bed after the defeat by the Welsh. We are very much amateurs but we complain when our lads don’t get the tactics right or change them when things don’t go to plan. Well we watched England do exactly that. The tactics weren’t working in the second half but they just kept doing the same old thing and lost at their own game of kicking to the corners!
Thankfully there is beer to soften the pain! Seaside next week for Westoe. Kevin B it’s your round!!

Quilter Kids First Champions winner – February: Henley Hawks RFC

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League table

# Team Pl Pts
1. Durham City 22 99
2. West Hartlepool 22 98
3. Northern 22 97
4. Stockton 22 84
5. South Shields Westoe 22 79
6. Novocastrians 22 72
7. Gateshead 22 49

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