Maroons demolish Darlington to keep promotion hopes alive

Maroons touch down against Darlington. Pictures by Jenny Brown-Wood.
Maroons touch down against Darlington. Pictures by Jenny Brown-Wood.

Whitby Maroons hosted Darlington on Saturday in the hope of avenging last week’s heavy defeat away to Acklam.

Hosts Whitby started brightly and strong scrummaging from Oliver Telfer, Nathan Kaz and Bruce Reed managed to turnover the strong Darlington pack and give Sam Webster the change to waltz under the posts and make the score 7-0.

Whitby’s strong start continued when stand-in winger Phill Stentiford made a great tackle and flanker Anth Craig turned over and ran 30 yards down the wing to score a try, handing the Maroons a 12-0 lead.

The only downside at the the start of the game was that Whitby lost centre George Reeves to injury.

Whitby then began to let their discipline slip, giving away needless penalties and putting themselves under pressure.

Only good defence from second rows Luke Brown and Justin Mayne kept Darlington at bay, but the visitors eventually found a way through and subsequently reduced the arrears to 12-7.

Whitby came back, showing great mental fortitude with stand-in captain David Bland orchestrating from scrum half, after a good break from number eight Jack Braithwaite put Whitby in a strong position for centre Connor Clennan to stroll over and extend the score to 19-7.

In the 10 minutes before half-time Whitby produced some scintillating rugby that culminated in fly-half Sam Webster scything his way through the defensive line to make the score 22-7 at the break.

Whitby turned round at half -time, now playing against the conditions and they were certain of a sterner test in the second half than the first provided to be.

As Darlington continued to pile pressure through their kicking game, full-back Stu Gregson proved to be infallible under the high ball.

The opening 10 minutes of the half were a hard-fought affair, with veteran war horse Richard Harrison providing extra ballast in the pack.

Then Whitby’s pace told with winger Jamie Allison making a break down the right wing before feeding centre Ollie Roberts, who scored under the posts to make the score 29-7.

Whitby kept the pressure up with flanker Connor Clements stopping any Darlington attacks before they could begin.

From one of these tackles, Connor Clennan strolled in unopposed to extend the lead to 36-7.

Whitby’s scoring was then rounded off by Anth Craig, who sprinted 50 yards before rounding the hapless Darlington full-back to make the score 45-7.

However, Darlington proved a proud side, battling to the last and scoring the final points to round off an exciting game at 45-14 to the hosts Whitby.

Man of the match for the Maroons was Sam Webster.

The Maroons travel to Ashington this weekend as they aim to stay in the promotion race.