Maroons suffer home defeat against impressive Ponteland
Whitby hosted a strong Ponteland side that were only just relegated last season from Durham and Northumberland One, and so far this term are pushing strong for a quick return.
Whitby were forced into several changes with Sam Webster, James Newton, George Reeves and Oliver Telfer all unavailable along with captain Gordon Bland.
The evergreen Steve Allen returned at fly-half with Connor Clennan starting at scrum-half and a welcome return for prop Nathan Kaz.
The game started in disastrous fashion for Whitby after knocking on from receiving the kick off and conceding the scrum.
Ponteland secured the ball and sent it out to their centre who slipped through the defence, to give his team a seven-point lead with barely a minute on the clock.
However, if the visitors thought they were in for an easy ride the rest of the afternoon they were proved to be wrong.
The hosts started to get into the game and play some good rugby.
The scrum was going strong with Kaz steeping up to the mark with young Richard Hare and Bruce Reed all complementing each other superbly.
Chances seemed to be few and far between for both teams with a good committed game being played out.
However, it was the visitors who were to stretch their lead further with the full-back showing off his rapid speed to run some 60 metres to score a fine individual try.
Whitby needed the next score to stay in the game and began to build up pressure on the Ponteland defence.
The strong running forwards Luke Brown and Jack Braithwaite began to put pressure on the visitors and Whitby started to go through the phases.
This pressure concluded with Kaz picking up the ball at the back of a Whitby controlled scrum and go crashing over in the corner to get his team off the mark.
Stu Gregson narrowly missed the conversion and with the referees whistle for half time sounding just after this made the score Whitby 5 Ponteland 12 at the interval.
The second half started well for Whitby who were very much on the front foot and were putting the visitors under pressure.
However, the Ponteland defence stood strong and kept out the host’s attacks. Centres Aaron Jones and Jannie Jacobs were working hard both in defence and attack to get the ball out to wingers Guy Taylor and John Hatton.
With the game moving into the last quarter, Ponteland were going through some good phases of play, this ended up with the visitors mauling the ball over from close range to further their lead by five points.
Whitby endeavoured to get back into the game but it was Ponteland who made the game secure with another crashing short range try just before full time to make the score 22-5 to Ponteland.
This was a good competitive game of rugby played in the right spirt and manager Matt Jones commented: “I am very proud of our lads today, the effort every player gave out there today was immense.
“It was a game of very fine margins and credit to Ponteland who finished their chances and managed the game well, we will look to get back to winning ways at Sedgefield next week.”
Man of the match honours went to Jack Braithwaite for a powerful and aggressive performance as he never took a back step.