Whitby RUFC hosted high-flying Whitley Bay Rockcliff on Saturday in a match which will play a major role in deciding who goes up at the end of the season.
The hosts kicked off up the hill in horrific conditions and from the off it was clear that Whitby were the best prepared of the two teams to deal with the conditions.
Despite losing both Connor Clennan and Oliver Telfer to injury early on, neat interplay down the left hand side from George Reeves, Aaron Jones and Stu Gregson put John Hatton in for a try in the corner to make the score 5-0 to the Maroons.
Whitby continued in the same vein as they had started with some great controlled phase play, with Dan Marsay carrying the ball well and David Bland providing a constant source of support.
Whitby’s pressure told when fly-half Sam Webster’s quick tap-penalty found its way to Jack Braithwaite, who crashed over under the posts to make the score 12-0 at half-time.
The Maroons turned round at half-time, now playing with the conditions, and began to dominate with back-row livewires Anth Craig and Callum Smith making a nuisance of themselves at the break down and scrum-half Jannie Jacobs was making sure the game was played at a pace that Whitley Bay struggled to cope with.
After a good break from Stu Gregson, he fed Connor Clements, who played the ball back into Luke Brown to cross under the posts to make the score 19-0.
Whitby’s dominance continued with strong scrummaging from the front row of Nathan Kaz, Richard Hare and Bruce Reed, meaning that they always had a reliable source of possession for the backs to use.
From one of these scrums, Webster was able to crash over from close-range for a converted try to make it 26-0.
Whitley Bay began to apply some pressure, forcing Whitby back into their own 22 for the first time, and eventually Bay earned a penalty.
They attempted to kick for goal, but the ball bounced off the posts and Whitby gathered and ran down field and prop Kaz crossed for his first try of the season to make the final score 31-0.
Man of the match was Jacobs.
Whitby Harlequins were unlucky to lose out 19-12 to Stocktonians in a weather-affected match, with Euan Camm and Sam Wilson standing out.
WHITBY RUFC FIXTURES
07/04 - Winlaton Vulcans (H)
14/04 - Newton Aycliffe (A)
21/04 - Bishop Auckland (H)
28/04 - Sedgefield (A)
05/05 - Sunderland (A)