Whitby RUFC’s “best display of the season” saw them to a home win over promotion-chasing Bishop Auckland in Durham & Northumberland Division Two.
In a low-scoring affair, the Maroons showed great resolve to shut out their visitors, restricting them to just a single penalty score over the 80 minutes and eventually triumphing by a 10-3 scoreline.
“This was by far the best display of the season, if not the last few seasons,” team manager Matt Jones said.
“It is nothing less than the lads deserve and hopefully now that we have finished off one of the better teams in this league, after coming so close in the last few weeks, we can push on and finish the season on a high.
“The effort put in by every player was outstanding and along with the assistance from coach Darryl Grason the team are achieving things that were beyond the imagination at the beginning of the season.”
The game began with the visitors enjoying both the possession and territorial advantage, testing the Whitby defence from the off.
The hosts stood strong with tackle after tackle being made to stop any advancement towards the Maroons’ line.
After a period of pressure, Bishop decided to have a kick at goal after being awarded a penalty.
This complemented the Whitby defence which concluded with a missed effort and the game remaining scoreless.
With more tackles going in, lock Luke Brown was adjudged to have made a dangerous effort and given a yellow card.
This meant a seven-man scrum and more inevitable pressure.
The ensuing period witnessed more of the same and eventually the deadlock was broken with the Bishop scrum-half slotting over a neat penalty.
The young front row of Reed, Kaz and Cannon were holding their own against much more experienced counterparts.
With Whitby back up to the full entitlement of players they started to play some good aggressive forward running themselves, with Luke Brown and Dan Marsay making good ground for their team.
It was the former who shook the visitors to their knees when he crashed through several defenders to put Whitby in the lead after a great finish.
The game then became a much more level affair with both teams passing good ball through hands, but both defences stood tall to keep the score 5-3 going into the half-time interval.
However, just before the whistle blew Whitby were dealt their second yellow card with Mitchell Cannon being sent to the sin-bin for tripping an opponent.
The second stanza began with Whitby yet again a player short, ferocious tackling by Craig, Clements and George Reeves were making life difficult for Bishop and the energy levels on show were very impressive.
Scrum-half Dave Bland was using the ball well with captain Gordon Bland dictating play through the Whitby backs.
Adam Wilson was brought on to strengthen the front row and put Whitby yet again up to the full complement of players.
The home side’s centre partnership of Sam Webster and Ollie Roberts was working well with wingers Jack Reeves and Kyle Woods making important contributions to proceedings.
However, with the game closely poised quick thinking Sam Webster intercepted the ball some 70 metres out and ran nearly the length of the field to finish off and give his team a seven-point lead.
Tensions ran high going into the latter period of the game and more defence was the order of the day, full-back Gregson and substitute winger Jacobs were making valuable tackles and making much needed metres for their team.
A lapse in discipline then saw the Bishop hooker sent to the bin and the pressure on the visitors was starting to show.
In the late stages of the contest with a series of scrums and penalties five metres out from the Whitby line the Bishop pressure was really on but time after time bodies were put on the line and the visitors could not find a way through Whitby’s mean defence.