Bonus Point Win.
By Paddy Douglas
We made it hard for ourselves.
Hartlepool Rovers at home and of course it was windy as it was Saturday. It was also cold & wet as well.
Many changes with the usual varying reasons. So Martin Pluskal into the 2nd row with Scott Wilczek. Matty Cooper in the back row with Tony Kennedy and another 1st team debutant in Luke Hawkins on the flank. Ross Craig was back at 9 with Adam Ridley at 10.
I was multi-tasking as I was MC for the ladies day which started at 1pm so I was glad to get outside and give my earholes a rest! This time I was positioned on the terrace in case I got the call from the Laydees!
Hartlepool had the first of the possession and drove at us but for the next 15 minutes or so Gateshead spent most of the time in their half but good defence by Rovers and some mistakes by us lead initially to nothing.
However aft 20 minutes Scott Cartner came into the line and broke down the right hand side and passed to Nathan Turner who when tackled passed it back to Scott who scores a very good try. 5-0.
Conner Anderson got a knock on the bugle so on came Tom Kell.
Rovers kicked a penalty 5-3 and then after some good pressure the Gateshead forwards drove a line out and the young Tony Kennedy got the touchdown 10-3.
Just before halftime a Gateshead error got Rovers into our 22 and a ruck was formed. The Rovers No 8 was lying over the ball but Gateshead were penalised. They took a quick one and went over the line and a try given but the ball was not touched down. Two Rovers guys standing next to me said exactly that! Nevermind the ref said it was and conversion missed so half time. 10-8.
Just after half time Cameron Nyambega came on for Alfie Middleton and Charlie Heads for Mickey Ewart who had put a good shift in. A little while later Conner Anderson came back on and Tom Kell went to scrum half with Ross going off.
We kept at it but were making too many mistakes and the Rovers defence continued to be robust. Scott Cartner kicked a penalty after 13 minutes 13-8. For the next 10 minutes we looked like we should score but spilled passes and good defence kept us out and the fear was that they would get a score to even it up. Fortunately for us they had a left winger who managed to make a hash of everything he did and the poor lad had a nightmare! They also had a flanker red carded to throwing some punches in front the ref!
Martin Pluskal broke through several tackles to feed Scott who in turn out in Nathan Turner to score in the corner.18-13.
Now for the bonus point but we continued to make hard work for ourselves but eventually the pressure told and Scott Cartner ran in a try after Rovers ran out of defenders & converted. So final score 25-8. Bonus point win which takes us to the heady heights of 8th in the table. If we can win our game in hand next week at Ponteland we will go up to 7th but counting chickens and all that!
So again can’t complain at the effort. It was cold, windy and wet so mistakes were made.
Luke Hawkins gave a good account of himself and like Tom Kell didn’t look out of place in the first team.
The forwards worked hard with Mickey Ewart making good yards as did Charlie Heads & Cameron Nyambega when they came on. Martin Pluskal put in some really good runs and was quite rightly given MOM. We had a lady Ref for the first time in a 1st team league game and other than their try she did very well. Far better than a lot I've seen this season!
The backs as usual looked dangerous but the conditions weren’t ideal but we got a bonus point win and that was important so well done lads.
The funniest thing for me was watching the players having to do the walk of death through 170 ladies at the Ladies Day to get their tea. It was far more intimidating than anything they had experienced on the pitch!!
So next week Ponteland away. Both the Flying TJ and myself will be away so a touch judge and a match reporter needed please?