Brilliant Braithwaite shines as Maroons defeat Darlington

Whitby try to recycle the ball as they attack the hosts line. Pictures by Jenny Brown-Wood.
Whitby try to recycle the ball as they attack the hosts line. Pictures by Jenny Brown-Wood.

Whitby RUFC were back on the road on Saturday to face a Darlington side who the Maroons narrowly beat in the reverse fixture earlier in the season.

The visitors were without influential captain Gordon Bland but welcomed back Mitchell Cannon and Guy Taylor into the starting line-up.

In impressive surroundings, Whitby started the brightest, carrying on the good form they showed the previous week against high-flying Redcar.

This early pressure was soon rewarded when the quick-thinking Sam Webster dummied his marker and then after a 40-metre break, chipped over the full-back and touched the ball down, to carry on his fine season with another fine individual try.

The game was competitive with two committed teams giving everything to the cause to gain the upper hand in proceedings.

However, an unsavoury off-the-ball incident after a Darlington line-out, ended with Whitby second rower and ex-Darlington player, Oliver Telfer, unconscious on the floor, which meant a premature end to his afternoon.

The visitors introduced Connor Clements, which meant a switch for the versatile Anthony Craig, who moved to the second row.

Whitby continued to press and stretched their lead further after a good break and pass by Cannon set up Stu Gregson for a good team try which was duly converted by the same player.

The game continued in the same committed fashion with some great defence on show from Whitby with Dave Bland, Jack Braithwaite and Luke Brown leading the charge.

The hosts did break through however, after a period of pressure, to go under the posts for a seven-point score.

With half-time approaching, Whitby were handed another scoring opportunity in the form of a penalty, which was converted by Gregson to make the score at the interval 22-7 to Whitby.

The half-time message from coach Matt Webster was to cut the needless penalties out, and not to get dragged into the game that the hosts were playing, of predominately slow, forward-orientated rugby.

The second half began with both teams continuing their committed rugby and battling for territorial possession.

The Whitby scrum was again going well with Bruce Reed and Richard Hare doing well against much wiser opponents.

The new centre partnership of Aaron Jones and Jannie Jacobs worked well together in both attack and defence with good support from wingers John Hatton and Taylor.

Whitby conjured several more opportunities during the second half, but were just missing that cutting edge at the vital moments.

However, this was not going to effect the result of the game, which never looked under threat all afternoon.

With the last play of the game, it was the hosts who went over in the far corner to grab the last points on offer and to make the scoreline more respectable from their prospective.

This did not detract from a fine Whitby away performance.

Manager Matt Jones commented: “That win gives us another double over a good side.

“We defended well when we needed to, which is credit to the work that Matt Webster has put in with them at training.

“A good season continues with these young lads improving all the time.”

Man of the Match:

Jack Braithwaite

A constant thorn in the side of Darlington in both defence and attack.