Gosforth 5 Ponteland 28 Durham and Northumberland Division One
IT had certainly been a long time in coming but, boy, was it worth the wait as Ponteland ended their miserable run of form with a performance that had this correspondent dusting down his dictionary of superlatives, which has spent much of the season in the attic, writes Chris Morgan.
That the win came against local rivals Gosforth on their synthetic surface made the victory all the more sweet.
The visitors were thoroughly deserving of the scoreline, which didn’t flatten them in the slightest.
Pont were thankful for their hosts’ profligacy in the opening stages as a couple of missed penalties kept the score at 0-0 when the visitors were penalised for indiscipline in what was probably their only weak period of the match.
And soon it was to be Ponteland who profited from the referee’s whistle as Michael Mullins opened the scoring with a kick which just crept over the posts and then 10 minutes later took advantage of Gosforth’s petulance as a disputed penalty saw the ball moved forward within kicking range, which Mullins confidently dispatched to make the score 0-6.
With the penalties settling them down into the game, the away side started to play some competent rugby, with Jamie March providing good ball from scrum-half and the transcendent Jake White pulling the strings in the middle of the park.
And although Pont were forced to play out the majority of the end of the first half with only 14 men as Craig Robinson was sin-binned for tackling a player in mid air without the ball, they scored the first try of the match following a superb piece of rugby.
White ran a great line before offloading to Will Newbigin, who expertly ran over the line to score. Mullins missed a tricky conversion.
The gloss was taken off the first-half performance slightly before the end of the half though as the Gosforth full-back skipped through a couple of weak Ponteland tackles to score in the corner (5-11).
The visitors started the second half in style, with White breaking the line after a good line-out to score under the posts. Mullins’ conversion was crucial, giving Pont an 18-5 lead.
They weren’t finished there as Newbigin continued his run of good try scoring form. Again the fluidity of the backs was there for all to see and whilst the full-back had the opportunity to offload to Philip Mundy, he got a second chance and scored. Mullins converted successfully.
A final penalty was to follow as Ponteland ended weeks of misery for themselves and their band of long-suffering supporters, who turned out in force to enjoy the performance and the victory.
There is still some way to go in the battle to beat the dreaded drop from Durham and Northumberland Division One, but if Pont are able to put in more performances like this they can feel confident of keeping their heads above water at the end of the season.