WHITBY Maroons won back-to-back league games as they toppled leaders Yarm in an eagerly anticipated top four clash on Saturday at the Showfield.
They gave a first starting place to promising new rookie Dan Marsay, while club captain Ollie Roberts also returned at full back in once again a very young home side.
Having won the toss on a breezy day, the Maroons chose to face the slope and the elements in the first period.
Yarm brought a strong side and looked dangerous in the opening stages with a good back row and an excellent creative number 10 putting Whitby under pressure.
On the back of successive penalties against the Maroons, a well orchestrated catch and drive brought the try which gave the visitors a deserved lead.
Another good move on 30 minutes put the score out to 0-10 and Whitby were being severely tested.
However, the Maroons defence had not taken a backward step up to then with ‘bootlace tackling’ being the orders from the coaches.
Hardened veteran Matt Russell led the riposte, aided by the athleticism of the back row with James Newton at eight particularly influential.
For the first time in the match, Whitby’s youth and fitness was having an impact and there was a bonus as in the last 10 minutes of the half as the home side snatched two tries through the excellent James Newton at number eight and the reliable Roberts from full back, to make the half-time score 10-10.
Turning with the renowned White Leys slope and the wind gusting in their favour, the home side followed the orders to head for Dead Man’s Corner as they produced a series of excellent kicks to pin the visitors back in their own half of the field.
Anthony Craig was having a ‘wow’ of a game and he produced the try which gave Whitby the lead when he hacked ahead before showing great skill to pick up
at pace and dive in under the posts to give the Maroons a seven-point advantage.
The Maroons were in dominant form with the front row of Young, Brian and Russell dominating the set piece, allowing the back row of the Gradys, Newton and Harrison to make good ground consistently from the base.
The backs were playing well, sitting deeper than previous weeks which gave them time to orchestrate their moves.
Veteran Straker and nestling Clements were introduced from the bench and they provided fresh impetus with their guile and enthusiasm.
Both players scored well-worked team tries late on and deservedly so.
A good crowd enjoyed seeing Whitby playing flowing 15-man rugby, which another step up against a good Yarm side.
The tackling all game was low and aggressive, this was epitomised by youngster Connor Clements who tackled above his weight with five fantastic efforts with no misses.
The locks Bruce Reid and Dan Marsay worked all day in the boiler room while Gordon Bland and Joe Lenton provided control and at the same time invention at half back.
A good performance by the Maroons which sees them move up to third in the table, but still room for improvement.
There were still too many soft penalties at the breakdown but on the plus side none for dissent, the team is going in the right direction.
Whitby Gazette man of the match: Matt Russell - stood up and led from the front.
Maroons’ next match is away to Houghton-le-Spring on 29 September, with the next home game on 6 October against Jarrovians.
* This week the Maroons have a rest week so the second string Harlequins take centre stage, away to Acklam.
Anyone who is available can contact Bruce Reid, Jim Fountain or ring 07807 486344.
Training continues every Tuesday and Thursday at 7pm at the club at White Leys. Anyone who wants to give rugby a try is most welcome.