Maroons edged out at Winlaton

Mitch Cannon powers through for a try in Whitby Maroons' loss at Winlaton
Mitch Cannon powers through for a try in Whitby Maroons' loss at Winlaton

Whitby Maroons slipped to a narrow defeat in Durham and Northumberland Divsion Two, losing by just four points at Winlaton Vulcans on Saturday.

Darryl Grason’s men had previously lost to Hartlepool, Seaton Carew and Blyth by the slenderest of margins, before they were edged out on Tyneside in their most recent fixture.

The Maroons made the trip north to take on their fifth-placed opponents missing a number of key personnel, but began brightly on a waterlogged pitch.

The home side took the lead however when they executed a good catch and drive to go over in the corner.

The second score for the hosts came from a quick tap and go following a scrum.

Whitby reacted too slowly to this particular situation and Winlaton extended their lead to 12-0.

The Maroons hit back when their two best ball carriers combined to create a touchdown.

Luke Brown, who has been outstanding in recent weeks, broke from a maul, handing-off several defenders before the ball was recycled to find prop Mitch Cannon picking a perfect line to go over for his second try in as many games.

Full-back Stu Gregson added the extras and Whitby went into half-time 12-7 down.

The second period began with the visitors on the attack, inspired by their talismanic skipper Gordon Bland who made several breaks to put pressure on the home side.

A fine touch-finder from veteran fly-half Steve Allen produced a five-metre line-out and a pre-planned set move saw Luke Brown crash over out wide.

Gregson kicked a fantastic conversion and, against the odds, Whitby led 14-12.

Stung by this, the Vulcans surged upfield, and from a penalty for Whitby being off their feet at the breakdown, the home number 10 gave his side a one-point lead.

Whitby’s growing injury list increased when the in-form Dan Marsay pulled his calf and had to be replaced by Adam Wilson.

The hosts began to dominate possession and the Maroons hardly touched the ball for 15 minutes. On the back of a good break by their experienced number eight, Winlaton scored in the corner to open up a nine-point gap.

With 10 minutes left in the game, Whitby dug deep with forwards Brown, Wilson, Nathan Kaz and Rich Eglon all carrying the ball well.

Quick thinking from Allen saw him pick out right winger Guy Taylor who pounced on a cross-kick to score an unconverted try in the corner to reduce the deficit to 23-19.

Whitby launched one last effort as a great kick from Allen again set up field position, and twice Whitby gained penalties which they chose to run.

Despite a tremendous effort, when the breakdown came, the referee signalled that he thought the final play had been a maul and he blew for full-time.

Coach Grason said: “This was a frustrating game which we could have won, but at least we came out with a losing bonus point.

“Luke Brown and Mitch Cannon were the pick of the forwards, while in the backs Gordon Bland had a great match, as did Steve Allen.”

Whitby Co-Operative man of the match: Gordon Bland.

The Maroons return to action when they host Redcar on Saturday, 2.15pm kick-off at the Showfield.