Five out of five despite Whitby’s ill-discipline

Whitby  Maroons' Jannie Jacobs, backed up by Sam Webster, instigating a Whitby attack.
Whitby Maroons' Jannie Jacobs, backed up by Sam Webster, instigating a Whitby attack.

The Whitby Maroons faced arguably their toughest test of the season with a long trip up to Seghill, who themselves have had a positive start to the season with only one defeat.

The Maroons were forced into changes for this tough encounter with Luke Brown going to the wing and Ollie Roberts reverting to full back in the absence of Stuart Gregson.

The centres saw a new exciting partnership of Jack Pearson and Sam Webster starting together for the first time with the injured Jack Reeves unavailable.

The forwards welcomed back Shane Young to add some aggression to the pack.

The game started with each team challenging each other to gain a foothold of proceedings.

It was the home side who dealt the first blow after Whitby lost possession in midfield, culminating in a flowing move through the Seghill backs which ended up with their pacey winger out-running his counterpart to put the ball down under the posts.

The try was converted for a 7-0 lead. This seemed to wake Whitby up who then started to play some good rugby and forcing their opponents into giving a penalty away some 20m from the sticks.

Ollie Roberts stepped up to coolly slot the ball over to get his team on the scoreboard.

The Maroons continued in the ascendency and continued to pile the pressure on the hosts, with captain Steve Allan continuously putting pressure on the Seghill full back with his fine territorial kicking.

However, it was down to the centres to set up the next points of the afternoon after Jack Pearson passed to the excellent Sam Webster who set free winger Luke Brown who secured the points. Roberts narrowly missed the conversion attempt so Whitby had a lead of just one point.

Seghill were soon to take the lead back after their number 10 slotted over a penalty after a showing of ill-discipline from the Whitby pack.

A master class of tackling was evident from Sam Webster who halted several Seghill attacks single-handedly on numerous occasions which gave his team a platform to build on. The scrum was also going well for the visitors with Bruce Reed, Connor Clements and Matt Russell fronting up on the front row.

The last 10 minutes of the half witnessed Whitby both regain and stretch their lead.

The first try came from a quick-thinking penalty from Steve Allen that was well finished off by number eight Nick Beaumont, followed by a great try for Sam Webster after some fancy footwork on the wing by Matt Russell. Whitby led 18-10 at the break.

At half-time, Maroons were warned to tread a fine line or face consequences of some of their poor discipline.

The second half started with Whitby on the attack with young Jannie Jacobs giving the opposition something to think about.

The referee was not going to take any more infringements from the visiting team. Anthony Craig was shown a yellow card and the inevitable 10 minutes in the sin bin after what was seen as continual totting up of offences.

Further disaster was soon to follow with veteran prop Matt Russell also sent to join his team-mate on the side-lines after kicking the ball away.

It was time for the Whitby defence to stand up and be counted due to their team being down to 13 men. Shane Young led from the front with Neil Waterfield, Dan Marsay and Andy Grady putting everything on the line to keep out their hosts.

A neatly struck penalty was the only advantage gained by the visitors before the full number of players were back on the pitch for Whitby.

With only seconds left to play and a lead of five points, a break away by the strong running Seghill winger looked as though he was clean through and that Whitby had surrendered the game.

However, full back Ollie Roberts came across to make a last-ditch tackle and not only stop his opponent but also put him into touch. His match-saving tackle could prove to be of vital importance come the end of the season.

Some great performances were on show for Whitby all afternoon with Luke Brown putting in a great shift after filling in out on the wing and Sam Webster tackling anything that came his way.

However, discipline needs to be looked at but over all a good win in a difficult contest and a potential banana skin.

Coach Darryl Grason said: “This was a hard-fought win, it is hard to have anything but praise for a team which went down to 13 men and showed real backbone to hang on.

“I thought the two young lads Luke Brown and Jannie Jacobs who came in on the wings were outstanding.

“Only five games in and it already feels like our squad is being stretched. With the hard games ahead, we need our injured players back as soon as possible.”

Whitby Gazette man of the match: Jannie Jacobs –a talented player who performed way above his years in both attacking and defending.