On a sunny afternoon at the Showfield, Whitby Maroons were left feeling frustrated against average opponents in Barnard Castle.
The game began with Whitby attacking the Castle tryline with good territory and possession. Whitby were handed the first opportunity for points with a difficult penalty narrowly missed by Sam Webster.
The home side continued to apply the pressure on the visitors, however, totally against the run of play Barnard Castle scored the first points of the day after their winger capitalised on a wayward pass to run nearly the full length of the field to score. A difficult conversion followed to give them a seven point lead.
Whitby opened their account for the afternoon when Webster slotted over a difficult penalty to narrow Castle’s lead. The scrums were going well for Whitby with and some big tackles were being made with centre Sam Webster standing out with some big hits.
The mobile Whitby back row of Newton, Braithwaite and Watson were keeping Castle at bay with some ferocious tackling. Soon after Whitby recorded their three points, it was cancelled out by a Castle penalty just before half time to make the score 3-10.
Whitby were slow out of the blocks, gifting Castle a try soon after the restart with a missed conversion.
Whitby had to start to make more of impact on the game. With Whitby missing a penalty by the narrowest of margins, it was down to the standout number eight, James Newton, to give Whitby the next score with a strong run, knocking over defenders to go over the tryline.
This was followed by scrum half Gordon Bland scoring a similar try with a brave burst through the Castle defence. With both efforts at the conversions missed, this put Whitby just two points behind with 20 minutes still left to play.
The next 15 minutes saw Whitby on the front foot with the first win of the campaign within touching distance.
Captain Steve Allan’s boot was finding good territory and the pressure was firmly being put on the visitors’ defence line.
With five minutes left on the clock the pacey Castle full back made a dangerous burst up field. With only Whitby full back Oliver Roberts to beat, he attempted a chip over Roberts’ head; however, Robert’s was quick to react and seemed to touch it down over his own try line.
The referee had a different view and gave a knock-on against Roberts 5m from the Whitby line.
The ensuing scrum that followed was a disaster with Castle charging over the line was a cruel undeserved blow for the Maroons.
The Whitby heads went down and Castle scored another breakaway try to give them a flattering victory.
Coach Darryl Grason said: “This was a game that got away from us and one we could and should have won, to be only two points down.”
Man of the match: James Newton.
This Saturday sees the Maroons travel to fellow strugglers Seaton Carew.
Whitby Maroons 13 Barnard Castle 25