WHITBY Rugby Club under 17s played host to West Park from Leeds last Sunday on a heavy pitch in adverse weather conditions.
Whitby started on the front foot, with their pack winning ball which was getting played out to the wings.
Early in the game, a great move was played through the backs Connor Clennan, Matt Dudman, Sam Webster and Cam Leadley.
The ball finally reached Chester Nixon who surged towards the tryline and was unlucky to be stopped 5m short by the West Park defence.
Shortly after Whitby were unfortunate again when Sam Webster charged down a kick but the slippery conditions meant he was unable to control it and the ball ran loose over the deadball line.
Joe Lenton was taking every opportunity to break from full back.
After 20 minutes of Whitby pressure, West Park started to use their squad efficiently, using their rolling subs to making sure their forwards were always fresh.
Only a fine tackle by Josh Clough prevented West Park’s pacey backs from scoring. Whitby’s forwards Steven Cuthbert and Ryan Skidmore were thwarting any would-be attacks however after 25 minute,s West Park made the breakthrough with their centres making space and crossing over in the bottom corner.
Three minutes later, Whitby were dealt a severe blow when the ball appeared to have been knocked forward but this was missed by the referee.
West Park took the advantage and scored again.
Whitby’s front five forwards were now getting bogged down in the mud and just on half-time, West Park’s speedy attack broke and scored again under the posts for a converted try.
The second half started with West Park on the attack. Whitby’s front five Mitch Eglon, Adam Nixon, James Newton, Bruce Reed and Josh Shutt were now finding it difficult against the West Park forwards who were being rested using the rolling subs system again.
It was the speed of the West Park attack which led to them score again under the posts.
Whitby now started to up the tempo. The forwards were gaining in confidence and being urged forward by Jack Braithwaite forcing the ball down the pitch.
Whitby were camped on West Park’s tryline for several minutes and a resulting maul set up the ball which passed through the hands of several Whitby backs before reaching Matt Kendrew who scored in the corner.
Whitby were now on the front foot and only some desparate last-ditch tackling by West Park was stopping the attack.
The home forwards were revitalised by the fresh legs of Adam Swalewell and some fine kicking by Sam Webster was gaining good territory, but the determined West Park defence was holding strong.
But with time running out, Whitby took the ball into a maul from which Bruce Reed, abetted by Jack Braithwaite, broke free and scored a well-deserved try in the final play of the game.
Whitby’s coach Matt Webster told his players he was very proud of his team who never gave up and more than held their own.
The only difference in the two clubs was West Park had a large squad and the rolling sub system allowed them to take players on and off to their advantage.
Whitby 10 West Park 24
Try scorers: Matt Kendrew, Bruce Reed
Man of the match: Jack Braithwaite - for covering every bit of mud on the pitch.