A miserable afternoon at the Showfield welcomed Richmondshire for a much sterner test than the previous week’s demolition of Prudhoe.
Whitby welcomed back club captain Steve Allen and prop James Gildroy, for their long-awaited season debuts.
The game started as expected, with the large visiting pack causing problems and gaining valuable territory.
The Richmondshire pressure soon paid off when their fly-half slotted over a tricky penalty from 35m out. The game continued in the same vein with Richmondshire pushing forwards which accumulated with another penalty which was narrowly missed.
Whitby started to grow into the game with the forwards fronting up in the scrum and more than holding their own, however, the back line seemed to be missing the cutting edge which had been visible in the previous games this season.
The breakthrough did come after some persistence when Jack Reeves continued his scoring spree for the season with a tidy try to get his team on the scoreboard. Stuart Gregson struck the post with the conversion attempt.
The back row of the Whitby forwards started to make their presence felt and gave Whitby a foothold in the game. Nick Beaumont and Anthony Craig were making plenty of metres and causing issues for the Richmondshire defence.
Another Whitby breakthrough came on the half-hour after a solid Whitby scrum gave number 8 Beaumont a well-deserved try and to put the Maroons further into the lead.
Richmondshire had another penalty attempt just wide as Whitby led 10-3 at the break.
Half-time saw coach Darryl Grason make numerous substitutions with Allen, Gildroy and Sam Webster introduced to proceedings.
The second half started in a more positive fashion than the first with Allan’s boot finding some good areas of the park. After a Richmondshire attack that got halted by Scott Armstrong touching the ball down over his own try line, it was Allen’s quick thinking that provided further success. From the 22 restart, Allen’s kick went a good 70m and with the pacey backs chasing the ball, fly half Gordon Bland went over to secure a valuable third try for the Maroons.
This left Whitby in search of a fourth try to secure a valuable bonus point and put pressure on the sides at the top. Jack Pearson was having a good game making some dangerous runs and making opportunities for his team.
It was hard work by the forwards which secured the all-important try. After a successful line out powerhouse Matt Russell set up a rolling maul and pushed forward some 20m. Russell was held up by the defence just half a metre from the line, then fellow front rower Bruce Reed appeared grabbing the ball and falling over the line from close range to score his first points of the season.
A lethargic display was the order of the day for Whitby with improvements needed if this promising squad can achieve its pinnacle.
Coach Grason said: “Credit to Richmondshire – they came with a big pack and a game plan which was to stifle, but we didn’t do the basics well enough to crack their defence often enough.
“The forwards didn’t drive beyond the ball on a consistent basis and the backs, despite being warned beforehand, drifted too far away from each other and the slick passing of the previous week was missing.
“The good things were a win and a bonus point but if we are to achieve success this year we will have to raise our game”
Whitby Gazette man of the match: Anthony Craig.