Gregson keeps his cool with last gasp penalty in Sunderland win

The Maroons edged a close clash at Sunderland to stay in the promotion hunt
The Maroons edged a close clash at Sunderland to stay in the promotion hunt

Whitby Maroons travelled to Sunderland on Saturday knowing that a win would would put them in pole position for the last promotion position in Durham Northumberland Two.

The Maroons started brightly, pressuring Sunderland in defence and making yards in attack.

Whitby’s pressure eventually told when Connor Clements pounced on a loose Sunderland line-out and waltzed his way under the posts to make the score 7-0.

The visitors continued their good play, recycling ball well and finding holes in the Sunderland defence, working the ball side to side with great control and to great effect lead to Justin Mayne, who dived acrobatically in the corner to make the score 12-0.

Whitby rounded off a good half when a powerful Whitby scrum won a penalty, which Stu Gregson converted to make the score 15-0 at half-time.

The Maroons turned around and were now playing with the conditions, however it was Sunderland who started the strongest with the home team using their mix of youth and experience to put Whitby under pressure.

Whitby’s ill-discipline meant they were unable to get out of their half and eventually Sunderland’s pressure told and they drove over from short range to make it 15-7.

The Maroons hit back almost immediately, turning the ball over and Connor Clennan crossed to make it 20-7.

Whitby’s game almost capitulated in the final 12 minutes, being given two yellow cards and conceding two tries as Sunderland’s promising young fly-half grew into the game and made the score 21-20 with 30 seconds left.

With Whitby down a point and needing a score to keep their season alive, Sam Webster put an inch-perfect kick in, which Jack Braithwaite expertly regathered and Sunderland committed an infringement at the ruck, which resulted in a penalty which Gregson expertly kicked to make the score 23-21.

Whitby now face Bishop Auckland on Saturday knowing that a win will mean they are promoted to Durham and Northumberland One for the first time in over 10 years, kick off is at 3pm.