Defensive lapses deal a bitter blow to visitors

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Guisborough 36 Ponteland 17 Durham & Northumberland, Division One

PONTELAND put in a poor defensive performance last weekend to lose against the team directly above them in the league.

Playing into the wind, the visitors failed to gather the kick-off and some loose play saw Guisborough over the line and 7-0 up in two minutes.

A brilliant catch by Weeks from the kick-off saw Pont move the ball wide but a dropped pass saw the home team hack clear to relieve the pressure.

An excellent turnover by Kelly should have seen Ponteland free to break out from defence, but a lost ball saw the home side drive forward and a missed tackle by Byrne resulted in a try (12-0).

Pont immediately replied and a penalty by Mullins made it 12-3. But three poor offloads on the trot saw the ball fall free and a home player collected and ran in from 35 metres to extend Guisborough’s lead (17-3).

Again an immediate reply by the away side’s forwards saw Will Newbigin snatch up a loose ball and he glided past three defenders to score under the posts. Mullins converted the try (17-10).

With two minutes to half-time, Ponteland had a three-man overlap but managed to drop the scoring pass so it remained 17-10 at the break.

Maughan swapped with Redhead and Pont started the second half brightly with a 30-metre drive but McGookin lost the ball and the home team drove down the pitch to score a converted try.

It was all Guisborough at this point and another missed tackle out wide made it 29-10.

Ponteland appeared unable to stop the flow of the ball as the hosts ran in another try (24-10).

With 15 minutes to go, Pont threw caution to the wind and played some expansive rugby. A catch-and-drive saw Kelly just short of the line and several sweeping moves saw the home team desperately defending.

Despite what looked like a very harsh yellow card for Freer when a home player fell during a Ponteland line-out, the visitors continued to flourish as Newbigin swept in for his second try, which was converted by Mullins to make the final score 36-17.

Pont will hope to put this display behind them when they face Ryton at home on Saturday, kick-off 2.15pm.