Durham and Northumberland Division One
PONTELAND struggled on a rain-sodden pitch with icy winds blasting and fell to a disappointing home defeat.
The kick-off saw the home side try to run it wide and immediately drop the ball, somewhat of a pattern for the rest of the game.
Ryton began to drive forward and several scrums saw them advance towards Pont’s line.
A massive Ponteland drive in the scrum saw it go round, but the referee played on and several pick-and-go’s saw the visitors over the line to score. The conversion made it 0-7.
Ponteland immediately replied from the kick-off and a superb break by Mike Mullins saw Jack Storey held up short.
On 15 minutes, they had a scrum on their own 22. Phil Mundy picked up at eight, ducked under the flanker’s tackle and took off.
He rounded several Ryton defenders to run the full length of the pitch to score a try.
Mullins converted to level the scores.
Ryton again used the forward drive to gain territory and a penalty for holding on was successfully kicked (7-10).
Pont were under pressure as several dropped passes kept them in their 22.
Mullins, seeing a gap, put in an exquisite chip over the advancing Ryton line and it was collected by Maughan with a clear run down field, but the referee brought it back for offside.
The away side continued to batter away as good defending was required to hold the line. Ponteland looked to get another score, but no further points were added before half-time.
The second half was again a war of attrition as both sides made mistakes. Pont’s line-outs continued to self-implode, preventing a decent platform to attack.
With 10 minutes on the clock, a Ryton attack again knocked the ball on. Freer picked up in space, but the referee had already blown for a Ponteland scrum.
Ryton chose to keep the ball close to the forwards and were making life difficult for the hosts. On 60 minutes, Mullins drilled a superb kick long and left. Maughan only had to collect and score, but knocked the ball on.
An attack by the visitors was again knocked on and the ball was picked up by Mundy, who set off in the clear only to be brought back for yet another Ponteland scrum.
Both teams had missed a couple of kicks as neither side could break the deadlock, but then a forward drive won a penalty and Mullins kicked it over to make it 10-10.
The kick-off was taken by Pete Newbigin, who was hit hard in the tackle and he was penalised for not releasing as he hit the deck. The successful penalty put Ryton back in front.
Ryton, driven on by a noisy away crowd, scented victory and increased their forward momentum. Another lost line-out by Pont gave another penalty away to make the final score 10-16.
Ponteland clearly had chances to put the game away, but in truth, made too many errors as Ryton stuck to a game plan suited to the weather and they deserved their victory.