Ponteland 20 Medicals 14 DURHAM & NORTHUMBERLAND LEAGUE, DIVISION ONE
AFTER finding an alternative venue at short notice, Ponteland claimed an important league victory, writes John Chappell.
With all pitches at Ponteland still frozen, the committee contacted other clubs in the area and Percy Park did the club a neighbourly favour by providing facilities for the game.
Before kick-off, a minute’s silence was held for Colin White who died this week.
The hosts came out of the blocks first, as forwards and backs linked up to push Medicals into their own half, and only excellent tackling by the visitors and the odd mistake by Pont prevented an early score.
The pressure eventually told when a penalty by Dan Walton on 20 minutes put Ponteland in the lead.
Immediately from the kick off, they swept upfield again and it took an excellent tackle to stop Stu Weir scoring from 20 metres out.
Pont’s scrum, who gave the opposition a torrid time, then obtained another turnover as they drove Medicals off the ball and Angus White hit the line at speed, with Richard Moller finishing the move off by scoring a try to make it 8-0.
The home side were well on top but they suffered a setback when moving things wide 35 metres from their own line with an overlap out wide.
Unfortunately, Todza’s pass was intercepted for a romp to the line by Medicals. A successful conversion made it 8-7.
However, Ponteland attacked from the kick off and from a five-metre scrum Moller dived over. Then a big drive saw Kelly claim a try, which was converted to put Pont up 20-7 at half-time.
The second half was a frustrating one as the home side could not make the last pass count or convert the many opportunities that came their way.
Angus White came close again and as McGookin replaced Weir a great tackle by him and a steal by Chris Steven set Pont off on yet another attack.
Continued pressure saw them smash onwards and as the forwards were stopped 10 metres short of the line the ball was whipped out left with an overlap begging.
Amazingly, Britland’s pass was intercepted by a Medicals player who ran 90 metres to score out wide.
With 10 minutes to go, the away side’s kicker put in a monster kick from out wide, which rattled the upright and flopped over the bar to make the score 20-14.
Having dominated the whole game up to this point, Ponteland needed to be solid to secure the win.
Immediately from the kick off, Medicals attacked wide and only an excellent defensive tackle prevented a score.
With the visitors’ supporters screaming them on, they pushed for the try they needed but Pont summoned up all of their team spirit and held out.
It would have been a travesty if 80 per cent dominance of a game led to a defeat, but Ponteland must learn that alongside the outstanding movement and attacking rugby, decisions and plays have to be made to prevent giving the opposition a foothold in the match.