Maroons safe from relegation

Whitby Maroons celebrate the last-minute try that secured a crucial victory at Blyth. Picture: Jenny Brown.
Whitby Maroons celebrate the last-minute try that secured a crucial victory at Blyth. Picture: Jenny Brown.

Whitby RUFC’s 1st XV will compete in Durham & Northumberland Division Two again next season after claiming a dramatic late victory at Blyth.

The Maroons were among the favourites for relegation at the start of the season following their promotion from Division Three, but achieved their goal of survival with five games to spare courtesy of a last-minute try in a 16-15 success.

“The Blyth win means we are staying up, which was our sole target at the start of the season, and to achieve it with five games left is outstanding,” said head coach Darryl Grason.

Whitby have been something of a yo-yo club in recent years,being relegated from the second division after just one season in 2011/12 and 2013/14, but securing promotion back from Division Three at the first attempt on both occasions.

The Maroons finished 32 points adrift of safety in 2011/12, but only narrowly missed out on staying up during their last stay in Division Two.

This time around, they have claimed eight wins from 21 games so far, and sit in 10th position in the league table, just two points behind seventh-placed Seaton Carew.

Team manager Matt Jones described avoiding the drop as a “fantastic achievement by all the players and staff”and puts the side’s improved showing down to the Maroons sticking together over the course of the campaign.

“To be safe at this stage of the season is quite exceptional,” he added.

“The way the players have stuck together and also developed as individuals is a credit to each and every one of them.

“If this young group of players, led by their captain Gordon Bland, stick together and continue the progress they have shown then the future is very exciting indeed.”