Goal-kicking proves Whitby’s Achilles heel

Whitby Maroons hunt for a gap in the Seaton Carew defence
Whitby Maroons hunt for a gap in the Seaton Carew defence
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Two sides who had yet to register a league win clashed at Seaton Carew on Saturday, with a stiff crossfield breeze greeting the teams.

Whitby, with five front row out, had a much-changed pack with veteran Dusty Hare answering an emergency call-up to play his first game in 13 months.

The game started evenly with both sides trying to gain the initiative, both sides gained an early penalty chance with Seaton converting theirs and Whitby narrowly missing.

Gordon Bland was putting in some excellent box kicks to turn the home side and Andy Grady was winning good turnover ball.

The Maroons then had a golden chance to take the lead as, from a speculative kick, the ball found touch 5m out and with the ball coming off a Seaton player, it was a Whitby throw.

A solid catch and drive was needed but despite the fact this play had been executed several times earlier in the game, Whitby were unable to produce when it mattered.

The rest of the half was played mostly in midfield with both team cancelling each other out and not many clean breaks from either side.

Seaton Carew led 3-0 at the break. The second stanza followed much the same pattern with each side battling for supremacy without being able to dominate.

Dave Mahaffy came on for Andy Watson who received a knock to the head.

Whitby’s backs too often spilt the ball and needed more depth when attacking, the only bright spots being the form of wingers Aaron Jones and Scott Armstrong, who both looked likely with ball in hand and chased well.

In the forwards, Neil Waterfield put in a great shift and with James Newton once again excelling in the line-outs, Whitby arrived at the crucial point of the match with 15 minutes left with a good chance of victory.Unfortunately another penalty chance which would have levelled the scores went begging, as Whitby’s Achilles heel in the goal-kicking department once again cost them.

Seaton Carew grabbed the match-winning try with just six minutes left as the centre went over near the posts from a debatable pass.

Coach Darryl Grason said: “On the day you could not say Whitby had any poor players as everyone gave 100 per cent but especially in the backs they need to be more accurate and clinical in their moves.

“Forward-wise, Whitby need to learn to win more phases one after another which will lead to more space and opportunities to score.

“Dusty Hare lasted the pace really well and Neil Waterfield was the stand-out in the pack, while man of the match went to Scott Armstrong who ran hard, chased all day and played with much maturity on his first team debut.”

Whitby travel to take on promotion favourites Sunderland tomorrow, the match having been switched due to it being the home club’s 140th celebrations at the Stadium of Light.

“It will be a tough afternoon for the Maroons as Sunderland have a mighty pack but Whitby will be buoyed by the return of some of their front row players,” added Darryl.

Seaton Carew 8 Whitby Maroons 0