On Saturday Whitby hosted Redcar on a bitterly cold afternoon determined to avenge the 46-0 hammering in the away fixture earlier on in the season.
A full-strength Whitby squad, started the brightest with fly-half Sam Webster using the strong wind to give Whitby the territorial advantage.
The home side’s scrum was dominating giving scrum-half Gordon Bland a chance to release Whitby’s dangerous backs.
After a good period of play involving centre Aaron Jones and second row Luke Brown, an opportunity arouse for Stu Gregson to kick the opening points of the game from a penalty, making it 3-0 Whitby.
Almost immediately the home side’s ill-discipline lead to Redcar been given the chance to level the score with a penalty of their own, a chance they duly took.
The hosts were given a blow when centre Connor Clennan pulled a hamstring which forced him off, but did allow for veteran Oliver Roberts introduction.
The Maroons fought back strongly, with props Mitch Cannon and Bruce Reed carrying effectively and getting Whitby within striking distance, this allowed Luke Brown to blast across from close range make the score 8-3 to the Maroons.
Whitby, were now firmly in the ascendancy with flanker James Newton providing a valuable source of possession in the line-out, with good work from hooker Rich Hare, who was unnervingly accurate in his throws.
Some smart back three play from John Hatton, Jannie Jacobs and Stu Gregson again got the hosts in a position to kick a penalty, which Gregson slotted home extending Whitby’s lead to 11-3.
Redcar stated to begin to enjoy their first real period of possession in the game.
However, strong tackling from back rowers Jack Braithwaite and David Bland halted any forward progress.
After a fine piece of play from the visitors they found themselves within five yards of the Whitby try-line, the defence of which the Maroons have become so renowned for put a halt to Redcar’s progress, with second row Anthony Craig epitomising this feature of this young side.
After five minutes of stout defence, with only occasional turnovers won by Dave Bland and John Hatton providing any respite to Whitby, Redcar managed to bundle their way across for a try on the stroke of half-time.
Leaving the score 11-8 to the home side at half- time.
Whitby turned around to play into the wind in the second half, this meant that the hosts were unable to clear their lines as effectively as in the first half, which allowed Redcar to encamp themselves in the the hosts’ 22.
Again it was stout defending from Whitby’s Anthoney Craig, Dave and Gordon Bland keeping Redcar at arm’s length, however, the hosts soon wilted allowing Redcar to score a converted try, making the score 15-11.
After a stern word from Captain Gordon Bland, Whitby’s revived defending resolutely with absolutely no quarter asked or given.
In a bruising affair, Whitby lost influential number eight Jack Braithwaite and forward replacement Richard Eglon to injuries.
This meant that flanker Connor Clements joined the fray, and added his considerable defensive abilities to the game, and the already injured Connor Clennan bravely stepped back into the fray.
Whitby slowly started to build their way up the pitch when a penalty way driven into to touch five metres out, a driving maul ensued and Whitby crossed the line.
However, a perceived technical offence by the referee curtailed the celebrations.
Redcar slowly battled their way up the pitch and a penalty allowed them to push the score out to 18-11.
In the final phase of the game Whitby made their way up the pitch in search for an equalising score, however time ran out and Redcar took the spoils.
This was a good advert for the league with two very committed sides on show, coach Matt Webster said: “I was very proud of all 18 of our lads on Saturday, in the end the result came down to very fine margins which could have easily gone our way.
“We move on to another tough game away at Darlington next week with this great group of young lads who continue to do the club proud.”
Man of the Match:
Heroic defence from the flanker all afternoon.
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