Maroons fall to Bishop Auckland defeat

The Whitby RUFC Maroons launch an attack in their defeat against Bishop Auckland. Pictures by Jenny Brown-Wood
The Whitby RUFC Maroons launch an attack in their defeat against Bishop Auckland. Pictures by Jenny Brown-Wood

Whitby hosted third-placed Bishop Auckland on a very cold afternoon at the Showfield, looking to avenge a heavy defeat inflicted earlier in the season.

The hosts welcomed back Anthony Craig after a long absence and named a strong squad to face the impressive Durham outfit.

The first period of the game set the tone for what would turn out to be a frustrating afternoon for this young Whitby side.

The strong Bishop pack again dominated at the scrum with their forward-oriented rugby and soon went over the line for the first try of the afternoon.

With their tails up, visitors Bishop Auckland continued to pressure the Whitby defence but were thwarted by stout defending and some big tackles put in by John Hatton and the Bland brothers.

The home side did start to make progress with some good rugby on show that was started off by fly-half Sam Webster.

This in turn presented opportunities for points with Stu Gregson converting a penalty to get his team up and running for the afternoon.

The remainder of the half witnessed Bishop squander some good opportunities and Whitby felt relieved to be going into the break only two points behind.

The second half began with the Whitby pack improving at the scrum and winning more ball.

The front row of Bruce Reed, Rich Hare and George Reeves were doing well against their more experienced counterpart parts.

However, a neat side step by the Bishop fly-half led to him going over under the posts for a well-taken converted try.

Not to be out-done, Sam Webster performed the same feat after collecting the ball in his own half and running the length of the pitch for a fine try and to get his team within four points of Bishop.

The backs started to see more ball with Aaron Jones, Connor Clennan and Guy Taylor making good metres.

With the game in a tender situation disaster struck for the hosts, as Bishop collected another five points to grab their bonus point, and to make the final stages of the game very difficult for Whitby.

The last few minutes of the game witnessed much effort by the young Whitby side which accumulated in a strong run from lock Luke Brown to go over the line was to get his team’s second and final try of proceedings.

With the possibility of a losing bonus point with the conversion looming, Gregson narrowly missed the target to end a very frustrating afternoon.

A deserved victory for a well-drilled Bishop outfit who have added more than just big forwards to their game.

Manager Matt Jones said: “We were under par today and our opponents played well, they had a game plan and executed it.

“We need to learn from this and move on to next week and get back to winning ways.

“Our effort was not in doubt and credit to these young lads who stuck with it.”

Man of the match went to Gregson, who put in a very solid performance on a tricky afternoon for the beaten Maroons.