Maroons get back to winning ways against Darlo

John Hatton charges towards the Darlo line. Pictures: Jenny Brown-Wood
John Hatton charges towards the Darlo line. Pictures: Jenny Brown-Wood
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The Whitby Maroons returned to winning ways with a 19-17 win against Darlington in perfect conditions at The Showfield.

Whitby welcomed back John Hatton onto the wing and James Newton replacing Jack Braithwaite at number eight

The game started with disaster for Whitby, with prop Shane Young receiving a nasty shoulder injury, which looks likely to sadly end his season prematurely.

This meant young George Reeves stepped up to prop and Richard Eglon entered proceedings earlier than expected.

Whitby soon gained the upper hand on their visitors when the tough tackling John Hatton tackled the isolated Darlington full-back, to free the ball to winger Guy Taylor to go over in the corner.

Stuart Gregson stepped up to score a very impressive conversion to add the extras, which would prove to be vital later in the afternoon.

Darlington replied with some good possession and aggressive forward running but Whitby stood strong and halted any attack.

The hosts then suffered another injury setback as captain David Bland also injured his shoulder, ending his afternoon, as young Jannie Jacobs switched to scrum-half.

With Darlington continuing to press they eventually broke through on the 30 minute mark to go over in the corner.

However, the conversion attempt hit the post to maintain a narrow tw0-point lead for Whitby.

The home side were relieved to hear the half-time whistle, which gave them a chance to re-group before coach Matt Webster delivered a stern team talk.

Whitby began the second half much better, with the instructions still ringing in their ears, they were very much going in the right direction.

This accumulated in a moment of brilliance from centre Aaron Jones, who collected the ball on his own 22, evaded and crashed through numerous attempted tackles to offload to winger Guy Taylor, who showed a great finishing technique to go over in the corner.

Whitby were using the momentum they had built well and it was not long before Jannie Jacobs sent John Hatton flying down the wing before cutting round to finish under the posts.

Gregson added the extras to give Whitby a healthy 14-point lead.

Centre Jack Reeves was unfortunately the next player to injure a problematic shoulder, leaving the home side with no more fit replacements after the introduction of veteran Ollie Roberts.

Darlington showed why they were a Division One side last year and galvanised well by putting the emphasis on their attacking play.

The scrum was contested well with both teams working hard, the young front row of Bruce Reed, Richard Hare and George Reeves were putting masses of effort in which was halting any Darlington advancement.

Luke Brown, Richard Eglon, Connor Clements and Oliver Telfer were defending bravely and putting their bodies on the line all over the park.

Darlington’s inevitable pressure was soon to pay off when the ball came out wide for their winger to go over the whitewash.

Crucially for the games outcome the conversion was missed to maintain a two-score lead for Whitby.

With the game entering the final stages Sam Webster was finding touch in some good areas to alleviate the pressure on his team.

James Newton was impressing at number-eight with good line-out work and led from the front all afternoon.

However, as seems to be the way this season, Whitby let the Darlington backs slip through the defence line with just three minutes to go, to set up a nervous end to the game with only a two-point lead.

Whitby kept their heads and forced a mistake from Darlo which gave them a chance to win the ball at the scrum, which they duly did, to give Gregson a chance to boot the ball out to end the game.

With the final whistle sounding, it was delight for the home side and disappointment for the visitors, who had fought a tough contest.

Manager Matt Jones said: “It was good to see us getting back to winning ways after last week’s disappointment, this was a good win against a good strong outfit in Darlington.

“Our injury list is piling up which is worrying.

“Credit needs to be given to the players, getting over the winning line in tight games such as that is good for us moving forward.”

Man of the match was Aaron Jones after another good showing from the ever improving centre.