Great escape is still possible for Pont

Action from Ponteland RFC's game against Bishop Auckland. Picture by Keith Robertson.
Action from Ponteland RFC's game against Bishop Auckland. Picture by Keith Robertson.
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Ponteland 48 Bishop Auckland 0 Durham and Northumberland, Division One

Ponteland may yet avoid the drop as they climbed the table with a thumping home win on Saturday in their last game of the season.

The 48-0 victory against Bishop Auckland means that they are two points ahead of Novocastrians.

The Novos have one game left – home to Consett this Saturday. If they win, Pont are relegated, but if they draw or lose, Pont will stay up.

It is all over for Morpeth, however, as they lost 48-0 at Wheatley Hills. Even if they had won, Sheffield’s win over Pocklington meant they still would have dropped down into Durham and Northumberland, Division One.

At the Ponteland Leisure Centre ground, the hosts appeared nervous as they dropped a couple of early passes. But they quickly recovered and took the lead when the forwards shunted the visitors back at a scrum five-metres from the Bishop Auckland line and Michael Searle nipped round to touch down.

They scored another unconverted try on 15 minutes when the ball was turned over on the halfway line and a good passing move was finished off by Searle.

The visitors had a spell of pressure, but strong Pont defence kept them at bay and they extended their lead when Jonny Murphy broke through the defensive line and his off-load allowed Will Newbigin to score. John McConnell converted to make it 17-0.

Confidence was high and one of the game’s highlights came when prop Scandle made 10 metres, then passed to fellow prop Norris to gain a further 10 metres.

The front-row move was not over as Norris produced a great off-load to hooker Bell, who made further yards.

The bonus point try arrived from slick passing and it was Pete Newbigin who scored in the corner. Then before half time, good work from Murphy allowed Pete Newbigin and Nick Townsend to score two further tries – both were converted by McConnell to make it 36-0.

The second half saw already relegated Bishop Auckland come out all guns blazing in the first 20 minutes, however Ponteland’s defence was outstanding and the away side could not get on the scoreboard.

They tired towards the end and the home side took advantage with two further scores before full-time. Chris Searle and Craig Robinson touched down and Searle’s try was converted by McConnell.