Ponteland 45 Ashington 3 Durham and Northumberland, Division Two
Ponteland did not reach top gear, but they had enough class to record a comfortable home victory against Ashington.
With Sam Walton pulling up injured in the warm-up, Jonny Murphy was drafted in on the wing for his first start of the season.
Both teams tested each other out in the first ten minutes as the bitter wind made handling difficult. Pont slowly upped the pressure and a steal at a five-metre line-out saw the industrious Cameron Bell smash over for an unconverted try.
An excellent break by Dan Marcus saw quick inter-passing between Joe Leiserach and Bell to put Stu Weir in for a score. Murphy’s excellent conversion from out wide made it 12-0.
On the half-hour, the hosts drove a line-out 20 metres and Chris Searle got the touch-down.
Ashington continued to battle away and a rare excursion into the Ponteland 22 saw them kick over a penalty before half-time (17-3).
In the early stages of the second half, a good drive was finished off by Searle and Murphy added the extra two points.
Marcus continued to snipe around the base at set-pieces and at breakdowns and he deservedly claimed a try on 65 minutes as a dominant scrum gave him the platform to crash over. Murphy’s conversion was successful (31-3).
Ashington’s heroics in tackling started to show as they tired in the last quarter, giving Pont the opportunity to chase further tries.
Following several big drives from scrums, the referee ran out of patience and awarded a penalty try to the home side – Murphy added the extras.
Ponteland piled on the pressure and a 30-metre line-out drive saw man-of-the-match Searle claim his hat-trick. Murphy kicked over the conversion to make the final score 45-3.