Brilliant Bland stars as Maroons bounce back with Sunderland win

The Maroons touch down in their win against Sunderland. Picture by Jenny Brown-Wood.
The Maroons touch down in their win against Sunderland. Picture by Jenny Brown-Wood.

Whitby Maroons hosted Sunderland on Saturday, hoping to bounce back from their disastrous performance the week before.

Whitby started brightly with a strong defence forcing the away side backwards and within the first five minutes Gordon Bland sprung upon a Sunderland mistake to run 50 metres to score a converted try to make the score 7-0.

Sunderland then grew into the game forcing Whitby backwards.

The visitors were then awarded a penalty for a perceived offence, which Sunderland scored to make the score 7-3.

Whitby responded strongly with the now settled forward pack making inroads at both the scrum and the line out, hooker Richard Hare’s line-out throwing was returning to form and Nathan Kaz providing robustness in the scrum, from this pressure, the pressure told with prop forward Bruce Reed bustled his way over for a converted try, 14-3.

Whitby continued to pressure Sunderland into mistakes with David Bland proving himself to be a defensive stalwart stopping many Sunderland attacks.

Off the back of a line-out, turned over by Oliver Telfer, George darted up field laying the ball off to David Bland, who fed his brother Gordon to run the ball in for his second try of the game making the score 21-3.

Whitby’s dominance continued with centres Aaron Jones and Connor Clennan putting in an assured performance.

With Luke Brown at his rampaging best Whitby were in complete control, when Connor Clements barrelled his way over in the corner and Stu Gregson converted expertly Whitby finished the half 28-3 in the lead.

Whitby now turned around playing against the elements and a revitalised Sunderland forced the hosts onto the backfoot, with their dangerous young backs only stopped by wingers Jack Reeves and John Hatton.

This meant the second half was a much scrappier affair than the first with the substitutes Dan Marsay, Justin Mayne and the veteran Oliver Roberts shoring up the Whitby rearguard and meaning that Sunderland were only able to add a penalty to make the score 28-6.

Eventually the Whitby worked some space for fly-half Sam Webster to bury his way over for an unconverted try to make the score 33-6.

Sunderland had the last say however scoring an unconverted breakaway try to make the final score 33-11.

Man of the match was David Bland after a solid display for the victors.