Pont smash through Wallsend to avoid the drop

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Ponteland 24 Wallsend 19 Durham & Northumberland League, Division One

PONTELAND are now virtually safe from the drop after an excellent comeback win, writes John Chappell.

Kicking off with a strong wind behind them, the home side immediately swept downfield, playing some attractive rugby.

But several attacks were held short as Wallsend defended well and with their first foray into home territory the visitors were awarded a penalty, which was slotted over.

More chances came and went and Pont found themselves down by a further five points when Wallsend scored a try.

This appeared to motivate the away side into their best spell of the game and, shortly after it, a quick penalty saw their scrum-half stroll over to make the score 0-13.

To their credit, Ponteland upped the ante and a quick tap saw Maughan scuttle through to score. The missed conversion meant it was 5-13 at half-time.

Playing into the wind looked difficult, but the hosts started brightly as a charge down by Sockett put pressure on the away team.

A successful Wallsend penalty was another frustration, but Pont were not to be denied and after several pick and goes, Weir collected the ball and sprinted in for one of his trademark 20 yard dashes. The McGawley conversion made it 12-16.

A further penalty put Wallsend ahead by seven points and a home penalty was missed, but the visitors lost their discipline when one of their forwards was sent off for a punch.

From the penalty, Ponteland drove on towards the line and skipper Harrison picked up the ball, spun out of the tackle and scored a try. With most people looking away, Newbigin coolly slotted the conversion to level the scores.

The home side were not finished though and immediately swept upfield. Sockett had three defenders on him when he got the ball, but he drove in, pumped forward and smashed his way over the line to record the winning score.

Pont comfortably held on to record a 24-19 victory to moves them into 10th place in the league.