Level-pegging as patched-up Pont’s defence holds firm

Richie Moller puts the first try over for the home side.  Photograph by Keith Robertson.
Richie Moller puts the first try over for the home side. Photograph by Keith Robertson.

Ponteland 14 Stockton 14 Durham and Northumberland Division One

A PATCHED-up Ponteland put in another good performance to draw with high-flying Stockton on Saturday.

The visitors started strongly, but the hosts’ defence held firm and they came back into the game with some good breaks.

Pont won a penalty that was successfully kicked over by Michael Mullins, although Kris Scott suffered a serious knee injury during the move.

They began to dominate possession and a line-out drive and turnover saw Richard Moller skip through several tackles to score a try.

Stockton responded well and only a brilliant crossfield tackle by Jack Storey prevented a score. The away side kept pressing and converted a penalty to make it 8-3.

The see-saw game continued as Ponteland attacked and an unfortunate knock-on stopped a move close to the Stockton line. But they won a penalty just before half-time and Mullins put it between the posts.

Both sides had chances early in the second half, however it was the visitors who reduced the gap to three points when they took advantage of an uncharacteristic slip in the home side’s defence.

Pont’s backs looked dangerous and they appeared to be scoring another try when the referee called crossing, causing great frustration among the home crowd.

Stockton kicked over a penalty to make it 11-11 with eight minutes to go and almost immediately Ponteland’s Chris Steven was yellow-carded to put them down to 14 men for the rest of the game.

The away side was on the brink of victory when a drop-goal attempt sneaked over the bar. But the hosts’ recent never-say-die attitude saw them pour forward from the kick-off to win a penalty some 40 metres out.

With most of the crowd unable to look, Mullins calmly slotted the ball over to make it 14-14 at full time.