Maroons edge past struggling Houghton

Gordan Bland was Whitby Maroons' man of the match in their victory over Houghton
Gordan Bland was Whitby Maroons' man of the match in their victory over Houghton

Whitby RUFC’s 1st XV secured a narrow victory over relegation-threatened Houghton in Durham & Northumberland Division Two.

The game was the Maroons’ last away trip of the season and they were missing several players, through injury and unavailabilty, as well as coach Darryl Grason due to illness.

Playing against the elements, Whitby started the brighter of the two sides, with scrum-half Gordon Bland dictating the direction and pace of play.

Centres Jack Reeves and Oliver Roberts were also looking dangerous.

After several missed opportunities early on, a break down the wing from Stu Gregson led to an offload for Connor Clements to score the first try of the game.

Houghton responded brightly however and were soon awarded a penalty after a string of Whitby infringements, leading to lock Dan Marsay been sent to the sin bin, making the score 5-3.

After the re-start, the hosts continued to take the game to a lacklustre Whitby with only some committed tackling from the flankers Clements and George Reeves keeping the home side at bay.

Just before half-time Houghton did manage to break through when they constructed a driving maul and scored a converted try, leaving the score 10-5 at the interval.

After a half-time team talk from stand-in coach Steve Allen, Whitby began to improve and some neat interplay from the forwards allowed George Reeves to cross for a converted try for 12-10.

The Maroons immediately put Houghton under more pressure with good tactical kicking from Sam Webster and veteran scrum-half Tim Richardson keeping the Houghton back three busy.

A good kick and chase from wingers Matt Kendrew and Kyle Woods then led to a five-metre scrum and after neat play at the base from James Newton, Gordon Bland crossed for a deserved try.

With the visitors leading 17-10, this try served to galvanise Houghton, who came back at Whitby, using their forward size to try and gain territory.

The Maroons were able to repel Houghton thanks to more strong tackling from the forwards through numerous phases of play.

However the hosts eventually managed to get over the try-line but the conversion was missed leaving the final score 17-15 in Whitby’s favour .

Whitby Co-operative man of the match: Gordon Bland - led by example and took his try well.