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Seaham 39 - 12 DMPE

Seaham 39 - 12 DMPE

Seaham Rugby16 Apr 2023 - 12:02
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Seaham welcomed Darlington Mowden Park Elizabethans to the Leisure Centre for their penultimate game of the season and expected a tough encounter against a recently promoted side.

Chris Bland came close to opening the scores on 2 minutes when he finished off a sequence of forward drives but referee Gareth Richards adjudged that he'd been held up. Play came back for a penalty advantage and Joe Cowie made it 3-0.

Sadly for the hosts, they lost powerful centre Jack Adamson with a suspected hamstring injury as the kick was being lined up. He was replaced by the evergreen Jonny Foster.

The visitors bounced back strongly and their inside centre made a superb break that left Seaham grasping at thin air. He then drew two tacklers in before offloading a deft pass for his centre partner to take and cross right of the posts for 5-3.

Seaham regained the lead in the 8th minute when they took a quick tap penalty in the Mowden half and Jonny Foster kicked delicately over the visitors defence. Ben Turnbull read it impeccably, took the bouncing ball and hared behind the posts. Joe Cowie's conversion made it 10-5.

The lead was extended further a minute later when Mowden's restart failed to travel the required 10 metres. From the resulting scrum, Brad Robinson spun quickly and Ben Turnbull put Alex Robson over for a try. Joe Cowie added the extras for 17-3.

Seaham's pack were relentless going forward and ruthless in defence with Matty Wharton, Sean McCallum and Matt Buckley in the thick of everything. Their pressure forced a penalty 30 metres out when a Mowden defender failed to roll away from the tackle and Joe Cowie did the honours to make it 20-5 with a mere 14 minutes played.

The remainder of the half panned out evenly with Mowden's left winger enjoying some powerful runs and their back row carrying well. However, the hosts defended well and absorbed the pressure with Dan Palmer marshalling the defence well.

Former DMPE player James Buckley came agonisingly close to scoring against his old team. He took a fine Ben Turnbull pass and blazed down the left flank but a strong tackle forced his foot into touch with the try line looming.

With half time closing in, Seaham were knocking on the door as John Dixon, Matt Buckley, Chris Bland and Craig Gilmour all tried to drive over from close range but the Mowden defence was resolute. The hosts remained patient and Kurt Miller eventually took a pass and crashed over from five metres to steal a huge psychological advantage. Joe Cowie added the conversion with the last play of the half.

Half Time: Seaham 27 - 5 DMPE

The third quarter of the game was full of action as Mowden tried to battle their way back into the game. Fortunately, the hosts retained their first half form and held their lines well.

John Dixon had put in a very strong shift in attack and defence by this stage and was replaced in the second row by Stephen Noble. The youngster got straight into the action and looked to carry and defend strongly.

The hosts got the scoreboard rolling again on 65 minutes when Mowden fumbled a pass near their own line. Joe Cowie pounced on the loose ball and touched down. The conversion was added and Seaham now led 34-5.

With the game entering its final ten minutes, Graeme Steel came on for Alex Robson, who'd enjoyed a great day with some barnstorming runs down the right wing.

Within a minute, Seaham scored try number 5. With the hosts camped near the Mowden line, they worked multiple phases before big Chris Bland crossed casually in the top right corner. Joe Cowie missed his first kick of the day but the lead was 39-5 by this stage.

Mowden were to have the final say on the scoring front when they were awarded a penalty ten metres into the Seaham half. Silly backchat saw them marched back a further 20 metres and this put them in a strong position. They took a tap penalty and worked multiple phases before forcing the referee to award a penalty try. As a consequence, Matt Buckley was yellow carded and his team played the last four minutes a man down.

Seaham absorbed all the pressure put on them by Mowden and were able to see the game out without conceding further scores.

Full Time: Seaham 39 - 12 DMPE

The margin of victory could be crucial heading into the last round of games with Gateshead defeating Houghton 55-31 (7-5 in tries) in the other fixture of the group. This leaves the table as such, with league points and points difference shown.

Seaham. 9pts (+31)
Gateshead 6 pts (+22)
Houghton 5 pts (-19)
DMPE. 1 pt (-34)

Seaham now know that victory at Houghton will be enough to earn the Junior Cup title next week. But things are never that simple.

Everyone knows that recent form goes out of the window in a local derby and anything is possible. Their fate is in their own hands.

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