North Shields 43v10 Winlaton 1st XV
Shields rocked early but hit back with emphatic win...
Keith Christie was once again forced to shuffle his deck of cards to put together an 18 man squad capable of continuing the promotion charge with an unavailability list as long as the list of those available. There were a number of the Blue & White army in Rugby League Challenge Cup action for Wallsend Eagles and the Royal Navy as well as numerous injuries and other players unavailable. Ben Lemmons made his return to the 1st XV after a long absence due to injury and Keith Christie was able to welcome scrum half Andrew Maxwell back to the starting line-up.
Despite the near Arctic conditions that swept the club only days before the playing surface was fine under foot and a crisp clear day pointed towards some fine free flowing Rugby. Shields won the toss and skipper Dave Anderson elected to attack away from the clubhouse. From the kick off Winlaton gathered possession and after a number of attacking phases Shields infringed and were penalised by the Spanish Exchange referee. Winlaton’s fullback Robert Pyle kicked deep into Shields territory and from the resulting lineout the Winlaton pack rolled over the line with Martin Wood touching down. Pyle’s conversion attempt from out wide just drifting past the posts.
With less than a couple of minutes played and finding themselves behind on the score sheet Anderson called for a response from his men and it came within minutes. Following a planned lineout move Ben Dalton made a break and drew in a number of defenders before the ball was moved wide quickly and Ricki Hasnip found his centre partner Aaron Wilcocks who managed to squeeze over in the corner. Sam Brooks was just off target with the conversion attempt which left the scores level.
North Shields seemed to panic when put under pressure and rushed a kick to touch which gave Winlaton good field position to launch their attack. The rolling maul was gathering speed once again but when Shields thought they had halted the visitors momentum the Winlaton number 8 Darren Cornwall spun out from the back of the maul and won the race to the corner despite the best efforts of Jack Rendles, Pyle’s conversion attempt again unsuccessful. Behind the posts Shields spoke about being more patient with the ball in hand and being a bit smarter about how to attack and this proved dividends immediately. The Shields forwards began to make inroads into Winlaton territory with some direct running and strong support at the breakdown. When the ball came to Flyhalf Craig Banks 5m out he threw a dummy and nipped through the gap to touch down just to the left of the posts. Brooks’ aim was this time true with his conversion attempt and Shields took the lead for the first time in the game.
Shields put themselves under pressure again from the resulting kick off knocking the ball on and Winlaton began to apply pressure. From a Winlaton attack Jack Rendles read the play and intercepted the final pass to the winger and set off 30m from his own line. Winlaton’s fullback Pyle chased him back and managed to tackle him into touch 5m out but this proved to be his final contribution to the game, having to leave the field with a hamstring injury. Winlaton were able to clear their lines up to half way. Once again some patient disciplined play from the Shields pack wore the Winlaton defence down and Tony Jordan this time crashed over, with Brooks once again adding the conversion.
Winlaton had a chance to reduce the deficit to within one score before the interval when they got a penalty just outside the 22 in front of the posts but without their regular kicker Pyle on the field the responsibility fell to their Skipper David Lowes but the strong breeze sent the kick wide of the posts and the ref’s whistle indicated the interval.
North Shields 19-10 Winlaton Vulcans.
Shields turned to attack towards the clubhouse and put the previous 40m behind them scoring 24 unanswered points in the second half picking up the 4 try bonus point in the process. The first score of the second half came through Dave Anderson. Craig Banks’ long rangy clearance kick pinned the Vulcans back in their own 22 and following a good kick chase the visitors cleared their lines but only as far as Andrew Leitch who had dropped back to cover. The number 8 throwing an outrageous dummy that the winger fell for and offloaded to the skipper who bounced off the centre and crashed over in the corner for an unconverted try which secured the Bonus Point.
Leitch got a try of his own minutes later when he got on the end of a fine flowing team move which saw the ball pass through 8 pairs of hands as the Blue & White army went the full length of the field. Shields almost scored immediately from the kick off with Tony the Raging Bull Jordan going on a trademark rampaging 30m run leaving defenders in his wake but Winlaton knocked on at the breakdown and Shields got a 5m scrum. Shortly after the scrum Leitch got his second of the day with another little dummy before powering over from close range, this time Brooks added the extras and Shields were very much in the ascendency.
Shields were demonstrating the type of rugby which the home crowd have become accustomed to at Preston Playing Fields and broke from deep inside their own half but after going 60m the final pass was knocked on and Winlaton managed to relieve the pressure. The Vulcans then enjoyed a rare period of possession which they hadn’t had since the half began and some strong tackling notably from Ben Dalton and Matty Dockey and a couple of turnovers from Richard ‘Flash’ Carr meant that their attack failed to reap any rewards.
The final try of the game came through Anderson once again. Centre Hasnip finding a gap after coming on a beautiful arcing run and scythed through the Vulcans defence before drawing the fullback and offloading to his skipper who then outpaced the chasing defence to touchdown, allowing Brooks to add the conversion attempt before the referee brought proceedings to an end.
Richard Carr was awarded man of the match for his tireless work at the breakdown proving a thorn in the Winlaton side all afternoon but it could have easily gone to a number of others who stood out. This was a potential banana skin against a side who have picked up some decent results of late but to a man the Shields players who pulled on the Blue & White worked hard for the cause and were worth winners.
A notable mention to Arturo, the referee on exchange from Spain who allowed the game to flow well, was excellent in his communication with the players and was always up with play, resulting in a fine spectacle for those watching.
North Shields 43-10 Winlaton Vulcans
Dan Timney, Tony Jordan, Leon Van Zanvliet, Chris Allott, Dave Anderson, Richard Carr, Ben Dalton, Andrew Leitch, Andrew Maxwell, Craig Banks, Matty Dockey, Ricki Hasnip, Aaron Wilcocks, Sam Brooks, Jack Rendles.
Ben Lemmons, Ben Reid, Wayne Turnbull
For full pictures please go to the below link:
Cheers Steve Summers!