Maroons impress to beat hosts Prudhoe

Man of the match Gordon Bland crashes over for a try
Man of the match Gordon Bland crashes over for a try

Whitby Maroons made the two-hour journey north on Saturday fo face Prudhoe and came away with the points in an “impressive” display.

Whitby Maroons 39

Whitby Maroons made the two-hour journey north on Saturday fo face Prudhoe and came away with the points in an “impressive” display.

Anthoney Craig, D Bland and Brown were all out injured and a reshuffle saw recalls for Pearson, Coomber and Richardson.

After losing the toss, the Maroons played down the considerable slope and started brightly, with good tackling forcing a turnover.

From a maul near the home line, second row Mitch Cannon showed all his strength to plough over, taking three defenders with him.

Stu Gregson added a good conversion.

Prudhoe, on the back of three penalties in a row, responded immediately and fashioned a good try of their own far out to make the score 5-7.

Looking to avoid kicking the ball out and keep a high tempo, the Maroons bounced back and the forwards with Matt Russell and Neil Waterfield to the fore, created quick ruck ball which led to Connor Clements crashing over.

The Maroons’ pack stepped up the pace and with half backs Gordon Bland and Steve Allen running the show, a slick move saw winger Jack Reeves beat two defenders to score a well-worked try.

Gregson added a penalty and then on the stroke of half time, more good rucking by the pack led to an overlap with Clements sending George Reeves over for the Maroons to lead 29-10 at half-time.

The second stanza saw Prudhoe coming down the hill and Whitby had to fight off 15 minutes of pressure as the home side looked to score from catch and drives.

The line-out which had been worked on before the game by forwards coach Matt Webster was going much better, with the double lifting ploy nullifying the home team.

Having absorbed the pressure, Whitby now started attacking from all over the field and with Gordon Bland now at 15, having being replaced by evergreen Tim Richardson at scrum half, he was the catalyst for some brilliant moves.

After one such passage of play, centre Jack Prearson went over in the corner after a 70m move.

As Whitby emptied the bench to get everyone on, Prudhoe took the opportunity to grab a well-made try from a rolling maul.

The Maroons had the final word, though, as ever-improving hooker Nathan Kaz bulldozed his way through for his first senior try for the first team.

A great team performance this with each man in a Maroon shirt knowing his job and doing it well.

Gordon Bland was exceptional at nine, running Prudhoe ragged and captain Steve Allen, who is having a superb tactical season, made sure the ball won by a much-improved forward display was used to maximum effect.

The pack took a step up this week and were far more effective in the loose, with Matt Russell and Neil Waterfield at the heart of everything which was good.

Youngsters George Reeves, Connor Clements and Nathan Kaz all impressed with their workrate.

Whitby coach Darryl Grason said: “It was a great performance by the Maroons.

“We were more aggressive in the forwards than in previous weeks and deservedly got the rewards for our ambition in not kicking the ball away.’

“Harder games are still out there for us but we have genuine competition for places in most positions and players are now fighting to get in.”

Whitby Gazette man of the match: Gordon Bland –classy display by the brilliant number nine.