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Seaham 36 - 12 Whitby

Seaham 36 - 12 Whitby

Seaham Rugby20 Mar 2023 - 20:23
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Seaham end Division Two campaign with a home win

Seaham ended this season's Division Two campaign with a home fixture against Whitby. Having lost the reverse fixture narrowly, they were keen to finish their league season on a high note.

The visitors looked keen to get off to a good start and attacked vigorously. Seaham defended sternly with tight head Andy Short putting in several thumping hits to stem the flow.

Whitby were persistent and their lively fly half dummied left and popped a delicate pass for his outside centre to run onto and cross in the bottom right corner. He added the conversion and Seaham trailed by seven with five minutes gone.

Seaham battled back immediately with centres Jack Adamson and Elliott Pratt forcing the Whitby defence backwards. The forwards drove the ball deep inside the 22 and big Mick Bland picked from the base of a ruck and drove over the line for a second try in as many weeks. Jonny Foster had less luck with the conversion so Seaham trailed by two points with 11 minutes played.

Within three minutes, the visitors had stretched their lead further. Again, it was their outside centre stealing the limelight after his teammates had worked multiple phases downfield. He broke and kicked speculatively past Zak Kennedy. The ball bounced perfectly and he dropped over the line near the posts. He then added the conversion to put his side 14-5 ahead.

Seaham's quick tempo paid dividends in the 18th minute when they were awarded a penalty. Stu Smithson took a quick tap and galloped deep into the Whitby 22. His second row partner Mick Bland took another ruck ball and drove for the line, only to be stopped inches short. Brad Robinson spun a quick pass right and Sean McCallum finished the move by crossing right of the posts. This time, Jonny Foster added the extras to bring Seaham within two points.

Six minutes later, Seaham took the lead for the first time in the game. Whitby conceded a penalty and Sean McCallum took another quick tap and go. His forwards carried the ball to the edge of the visitors' 22. Jonny Foster took a lovely popped pass and danced his way under the posts. He added the conversion for a 19-14 lead.

Just before the interval, Brad Robinson made a lovely break and tore for the line. Whitby chased back and managed to stop the lively young scrum half several metres short. His forwards arrived but ended up transgressing and conceding a sloppy penalty to end the half.

Half Time: Seaham 19 - 14 Whitby

Seaham made a tactical change at the interval with Graeme Steel replacing young Robinson. He slotted in at full back, James Bromley moved into the centres, and Elliott Pratt took on scrum half duties.

Mr Steel's impact was immediate. He steamed out of defence, launched a huge 'up and under', which he jumped and caught, and ran to within five metres. Seaham's pack formed a quick ruck and Chris Bland crossed for the all-important bonus point try on 42 minutes. Jonny Foster's added conversion made it 26-12.

Having almost stormed off the field in the first half, James Bromley made a strong recovery and hit some great lines in attack to cause the Whitby defence a few headaches. But, in the 49th minute he retaliated to having his shirt pulled off the ball and was issued his first yellow card of the season.

Seaham defended well throughout the sin-bin period and introduced John Dixon after grizzled veteran Stu Smithson had ran himself ragged.

In fact, Seaham adapted so well to being a man down that they were the only ones to score whilst Mr Bromley was cooling off. Following multiple phases, Craig Gilmour bulldozed his way over the line for try number five on 57 minutes. The conversion was missed.

Whitby tried to rally but, having been forced into travelling with no replacements, they had no fresh legs to introduce going into the final quarter. Still they worked hard and forced Seaham to defend desperately at times.

Having put in another strong display in attack and defence, Matt Buckley left the field around the hour mark and was replaced by Stephen Noble.

Seaham looked for try number six but didn't always choose the right options. Had they done so, young wing Zak Kennedy would have had a great chance to score in the bottom left corner with the try line begging. Unfortunately, the ball was shipped inside and the moment was gone.

But, Seaham saved the best until last. Having enjoyed a great season as skipper, it was so fitting that Kurt Miller scored his side's last league try of the season. A quick tap penalty was taken and the popular hooker burrowed over from 5 metres with virtually the last play of the game.

Full Time: Seaham 36 - 12 Whitby

Now the league season is over, and Seaham have finished in ninth place on 42 points. Every single point has been very well earned.

It has been a challenging season, where they have had to battle hard against very strong sides like Bishop Auckland, Ryton and Gateshead. But they equipped themselves very well, fronted up, and proved that character counts for a lot at this level.

Their future is bright if they keep showing this character and never-say-die attitude. UTH

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