First win eludes Maroons

Whitby and Ryton battle for the ball'picture: Brian Murfield
Whitby and Ryton battle for the ball'picture: Brian Murfield

A pleasant Saturday afternoon at the Showfield witnessed the visit of Ryton, who went into the game in second position in the league.

This was always going to be a tough encounter for Whitby who are still searching for that elusive first win this season.

Oliver Roberts bursts through the middle for Maroons'picture: Brian Murfield

Oliver Roberts bursts through the middle for Maroons'picture: Brian Murfield

Dave Mahaffy kept his place at hooker after impressing last time out at Ashington.

The mobile Anthoney Craig was added to the back row to add some much-needed aggression to the pack.

The game started in regular fashion for Whitby when they gifted their opponents two tries in the first seven minutes with a series of missed tackles and poor kicks.

The home side, however, did keep their composure and started to play their own rugby. With the scrum finding it difficult, a triple substitution was made to booster the pack with Young, Reed and Brown being added.

Ryton outjump Maroons at a lineout'picture: Brian Murfield

Ryton outjump Maroons at a lineout'picture: Brian Murfield

A positive and more stable effect was seen with Mahaffy starting to win plenty of ball.

The 20-minute mark saw Ryton stretch their lead by a further seven points after a breakaway try. The following points went to Whitby after a clever move through the backs concluded with Scott Armstrong racing down the wing to touch down, making it three tries in three games for the young winger.

Disaster then struck for Whitby when a quickly taken penalty caught the defence napping and gave the Ryton number eight an easy score, although he seemingly took the penalty just a couple of metres out from the try line.

This frustrated Whitby who went straight back upfield to get a try of their own. Veteran full back Oliver Roberts broke the Ryton defence line to make the half-time score Whitby 10 Ryton 28

The second half saw Whitby attacking the slope with captain Steve Allen using his boot well and making plenty of territory for his team.

Ryton were defending stoutly in their own 22 with Whitby putting them under plenty of pressure.

This was rewarded when the ever-improving pack leader James Newton glided through to get Whitby back into the game, with now just 11 points separating the two teams.

Whitby continued to pressure the promotion favourites but fell just short on several occasions by failing to apply the finishing touches to some excellent work from the backs and forwards.

Just after the hour, Ryton gained a penalty just over halfway and decided to kick for a risky three points, which showed Whitby respect as they felt they needed the points to secure the game.

However the penalty was missed and Whitby continued to search for a way to close the gap. Excellent tackling from the backs was on show from Webster, Jones, Hatton and Bland that quickly broke up any Ryton attack.

The forwards were doing well at the breakdown with Waterfield, Coverdale and Watson giving their all for the cause, but all the efforts were in vain for Whitby as they were unable to gain any further points.

The visitors broke away with the last play of the afternoon to score their first points of the second half which really flattered them with the final score of Whitby 17 Ryton 35.

Man of the match: Dave Mahaffy - the hooker continues to impress after being promoted to the Maroons after impressive displays as the Quins captain earlier on in the season.

Coach Darryl Grason said: “Once again we were caught cold and to be 14-0 down in only six minutes gave us a mountain to climb.

“On the plus side, we did score three excellent tries in a much-improved attacking display.

“The next three weeks are going to be crucial to our season and we must turn promise into points”.

This was arguably the best showing of the season from Whitby, only fine margins hampered Whitby from sending shockwaves through the division.

Whitby travel to mid-table Hartlepool this Saturday (Nov 30) with plenty of confidence and their heads held high.

Whitby 17 Ryton 35