Medicals 29 Ponteland 20 Durham and Northumberland Division One
COSTLY errors were to blame as Ponteland plunged deeper into the relegation mire after coming second best in a thoroughly entertaining game of rugby, writes Chris Morgan.
Despite their rotten league position and coming into the game with just two wins all season, Pont more than matched their hosts for long periods of this topsy-turvy encounter which was a superb advert for amateur rugby.
With this in mind, to come away without even a bonus point to show for their efforts was nothing short of devastating.
The visitors started brightly and new signings Jake White and Simon March controlled things nicely in the backs, while Simon’s brother Jamie produced good ball at scrum-half.
And after both sides kicked over a penalty apiece, it was Jamie who was to score the game’s first try. Following some neat handling, he threw a dummy off the back of the breakdown and scored in the corner. Michael Mullins missed a tricky conversion.
A frustrating moment came when a loose pass from White was seized upon by the Medics’ number 12, who kicked and chased the ball to score in the corner. The successful conversion gave Medicals a 10-8 lead.
But with just over half-an-hour played, Ponteland got themselves back into the game.
White was once again at the centre of the action and, after more neat handling in the backs, he laid off nicely for Matty Walters to touch down in the corner – capping an impressive half for the winger. Mullins was unable to convert.
Medicals came back strongly and after levelling the scores with a penalty, they took the lead just before half-time with an unconverted try created by strong running from the backs (18-13).
The second half produced more of the same entertaining rugby. The game became more open as Mark Kelly and the Medics’ inside centre were both sin-binned for a scuffle on the floor, but it was the home side who started the second period the strongest as Pont were guilty of indiscipline again and conceded yet another penalty to trail 21-13. The next score was always going to be crucial and it was the away side that struck.
Will Newbigin had enjoyed a fine game up until that point and he rounded off a good afternoon with an excellent solo try as he showed great feet to waltz through the Medics’ back line. Mullins was able to convert to bring Pont to within a point.
But sadly for Ponteland it was there that their scoring stopped and their generosity to the opposition became its most costly.
Mullins hit a brick wall and got penalised for holding onto the ball right in front of the posts, which gave Medicals an easy three points.
Then a loose throw in the line-out by Richard Moller was picked up by a home player, who then proceeded to run half the length of the field to score in the corner. The try also took away any potential bonus point as Medics ran out 29-20 victors. Pont need to start picking up points fast. Their next opportunity is at home to Horden on Saturday, kick-off 2.15pm.