By Paddy Douglas
Anyone’s game right till the end!
Medicals at home. Team not quite as selected. Scott Cartner was carrying an injury so he went to the bench so Adam Ridley came in at full back. Akar Omar was off so Scott Wilczek was in the boiler house. Young Harry Leyland, another product of the youth system was making his first team debut at 10.
It had been a glorious morning so would we be able to watch the match in warm sunshine? Don’t be daft it is a Saturday so it was cold, wet & windy!
Medicals we know will run the ball from anywhere so we were looking forward to an exciting game & that is what we got!
Gateshead started off well and put a couple of phases together and it looked like a score might be on but the ball was dropped in the Med’s 22 and they snaffled it up and ran out of defence and a few passes later had scored & converted. 0-7.
A few minutes later Meds were on the attack and the whistle went and I thought we were going to get a penalty but it was the other way & kicked, 0-10.
After 12 minutes David Tate got a neat little pass and was through the gap and off he went. As it was early in the game he was still fresh and was uncatchable to score. He missed the conversion. 5-10.
15 minutes and Medicals scored again after a Gateshead mistake and some non existent tackling! 5-15.
Only 15 minutes and lots of action! The next 15 minutes were played at a good pace with Medicals having the edge but good defence kept them out. Then on 33 minutes David Tate had the ball in midfield. He tried a little chip and was able to gather and through the Meds defence and there was Nathan Turner on hand to get the score. 10-15.
Gateshead were on their uppers now and after some good play the ball came out to Conner Anderson who made a good run and a little kick ahead saw Adam Ridley win the race & score and convert his own try. 17-15. Half time!
By now it was raining properly and so I headed for the stand to much abuse from the garage crew!
As is our habit poor tacking saw Meds score in the first minute & convert 17-22. A couple of minutes later a Gateshead attack saw Adam Ridley come into the line and looked like he was going to pass but the gap opened and he was through for an excellent try, again he converted, 24-22.
After 10 minutes Harry Leyland got a poor pass and his kick was charged down and Medicals scored 24-27.
Scott Cartner came on for Harry Leyland with Adam Ridley moving to 10, Alfie Middleton came on for Johnny Thandi, Mickey Ewart for Charlie Head.
The next 20 minutes there was no score with both sides having a go but making errors too. Then that man David Tate popped up again to dance through the Medicals defence to score, converted by Adam Ridley, 31-27.
This was still anyone’s game with both sides capable of scoring and there were a few hairy moment for the Gateshead defence but they survived. Then at the end Gateshead had a scrum about 30 meters out and Martin Pluskal picked up at 8 and broke the first tackle and he was off and ran in for a great try, converted by Adam Ridley. Final score 38-27. Bonus point win.
So an exciting game to say the least with both sides taking part to make it so. Just about everyone missed a tackle or two but that helped make it exciting! Once again the young lads showed they are up to the task with both Ross Craig & Adam Ridley particularly doing well. Luke Hawkins & Robbie Greenwell both put in some good tackles. Martin Pluskal & Tom McGowan put in a lot of hard work too! Harry Leyland showed he has what it takes and with a bit more experience will fit quite comfortably into the first team. However it was the grandad of the team, David Tate who was absolute class on the day.
West Hartlepool away next week.