North Shields 17 Ponteland 48 Durham and Northumberland Division Two
It was not a perfect performance, but Ponteland were in fine scoring form at North Shields on Saturday.
With Mason, Williams, Anderson, Moller, Searle and Leiserach not available, they drafted in Phil McAreavey and Elliott Mew for their first team debuts.
The home side set out their stall for the day with pick and drives close by as Pont went into defence mode.
But the visitors’ front row of Lee Coulthard, Kyle Norris and Mark Kelly then took one of many strikes against the head to get the visitors on the front foot.
Although an excellent line-out drive collapsed short of the line, Ponteland moved the ball quickly for David Gregory to burst over. Dan Walton added the extras (0-7).
From the kick off, Pont’s cover charge from a clearance failed as it let a North Shields player go past. He danced across field and the home forwards picked and drove to get a try in the corner, which was not converted.
A stolen line-out again saw the away side marching forward. The collapse happened again and the referee ran under the posts to award a penalty try, which Walton converted.
Another massive drive brought rewards, with Dan Harrison claiming the spoils. An excellent conversion by Walton made it 21-5 to Ponteland after 26 minutes.
North Shields were not lying down without a fight and following yet another drop under no pressure, the home team gained several penalties until the forwards crashed over from three metres for an unconverted score.
Pont came out strongly in the second half and immediately claimed the bonus point try as good forward work released Will Newbigin who skipped in to score.
Another massive scrum saw the ball moved well as Kelly and Chris Freer joined in to make good gains. The ball was spun wide and Sam Walton finished off a move of excellent hands by scoring in the corner (10-31).
A textbook move saw Nick Townshend release a cleverly timed pass as Michael Searle ghosted under the posts untouched to score after 64 minutes. He then successfully took the conversion himself.
North Shields tackled hard and ran the ball when they had it but Pont had the steely edge to thwart their attacks and then make it count at the other end. Another big forward drive saw young McAreavey claim his first senior try.
From the kick off, the home side had a spell of attacking pressure, but Phil Bramble made an excellent cover tackle.
The visitors gathered the ball on their 22 and Dan Marcus had the good vision to see the gap and a long chip over the top saw Sam Walton outsprint the defence to collect the ball and score in the corner (10-48).
North Shields kept battling and they scored a converted try at the death to make the final score 17-48.