Maroons suffer narrow defeat at Whitley Bay

Whitby Maroons' John Hatton made two try-saving tackles in his side's defeat at Whitley Bay on Saturday
Whitby Maroons' John Hatton made two try-saving tackles in his side's defeat at Whitley Bay on Saturday

Whitby Maroons travelled north to take on third place Whitley Bay Rockcliff in the first reversed fixture of the season and they lost 26-20.

The Maroons handsomely won the home encounter and with an excellent performance against Sunderland under their belt last time out, travelled in confidence.

Oliver Telfer and George Reeves were welcomed back into the squad, but Whitby were still missing influential lock Luke Brown due to injury.

The game started with Whitby on the front foot and taking the game to their hosts with Gordon Bland and Sam Webster dictating the play.

The visitors were soon rewarded when after a period of pressure, the quick thinking Dan Marsay picked up the ball at the back of the ruck and crashed over the try line.

Inevitably the powerful home side started to exert their own influence on the encounter and were undoubtedly in charge in the set-piece area, with the usually reliable Whitby scrum struggling to cope.

The referee rightly started to penalise the Whitby pack, which soon resulted in a converted penalty for the home side.

Rockcliff continued their dominance at the scrum and capitalised with a close-range converted try to gain a five-point lead.

The young Whitby side stuck to the task in hand and battled away, this led to a good piece of thinking from Telfer, who burst through the Rockcliff defence line to give James Newton an easy finish under the posts, with Stu Gregson converting put his side back in the lead.

However, soon after the kick-off Whitby were soon penalised giving the impressive Rockcliff number 10 another opportunity to regain the lead for a second time which he duly did.

With the half-time whistle fast approaching, the home side were putting pressure on the Whitby try-line with a succession of scrums which accumulated with the number eight crashing over from close range to make the score 20-12 to the hosts at the interval.

The second half started well for Whitby, who needed to score next to stay in the game.

An opportunity arrived in the form of a penalty for Gregson, which he neatly slotted over.

The next period of the game witnessed the home side having plenty of possession and territory, however, the spirit and willingness on show from Whitby to defend impressed the hostile crowd.

David Bland was leading the defence making tackle after tackle backed up by Jack Braithwaite and Connor Clements.

The forward running George Reeves was also working hard along with fellow front-rowers Bruce Reed and Adam Wilson.

With Whitby just about containing the Rockcliff onslaught it was a moment of brilliance that made the scores level.

With Sam Webster gathering the ball some 10 metres out from his try line, he served up a couple of dummies to beat his opponent and bolted down the field.

When faced with the full-back, he chipped over him to chase it down and touch down an impressive individual try.

With just 10 minutes left on the clock, the home side again turned up the pressure.

John Hatton made several try-saving tackles with his usual commitment in the defence area with Aaron Jones and Connor Clennan also halting the Rockcliff advancement in midfield.

Unfortunately the closing stages frustratingly witnessed the referee penalise Whitby at the breakdown giving the trusty boot of the Rockcliff 10 a couple of opportunities to kick at goal which he duly took.

With the final whistle sounding to a good committed performance from both sides, the final score was 26-20 to Whitley Bay.

This was an impressive performance and coach Matt Webster said: “It was great to see us to take some of our home form on the road.

“It’s not easy having such long journeys and competing against good teams, but we gave a good account of ourselves and am pleased with the performance.”

Man of the match went to Sam Webster.