Maroons unbeaten run crashes to a halt with Shields defeat

The Maroons lost out against North Shields
The Maroons lost out against North Shields

Whitby Maroons travelled to North Shields in a meeting of two unbeaten sides and lost the fixture 25-23.

Whitby started brightly, playing with the conditions and forcing North Shields back in their own half.

After several minutes of sustained pressure Whitby were granted the opportunity to kick a penalty which dead-eyed Stu Gregson converted making the score 3-0.

Almost straight from the kick off Whitby’s strong defence told again, with outside centre Jamie Allison intercepting the ball and sprinting 70 yards to score under the posts for a converted score.

North Shields reacted strongly launching attacks from deep inside their own half with only great cover defence from Connor Clements keeping Shields at bay.

North Shields were trying to take Whitby on through the forwards, this was swiftly repelled by locks Richard Eglon and Dan Marsay.

North Shields were able to keep pressure on Whitby through the needless penalties been given away by Whitby allowing the opposition to stay in control of the game, eventually the pressure told and North Shields scored an unconverted try to make it 10-5.

Whitby reacted the better of the two teams, with the dominant front-row of Mitch Cannon, Rich Hare and Bruce Reed controlling the scrum and giving stand-in scrum half David Bland good ball to release the backs.

After a barnstorming run from captain Gordon Bland, North Shields committed a technical offence giving Gregson a chance to kick another penalty, leaving the half-time score at 13-5.

The second half started in terrible fashion, losing influential flanker Connor Clements and George Reeves to injury, allowing the introduction of Justin Mayne and bringing the already hurt Luke Brown back on the pitch in their place.

The pattern of play was identical to the end of the first half, with Whitby giving away penalties and North Shields taking advantage.

Eventually, after a long period of play on Whitby line North Shields forced their way over the Whitby line to make the score 13-10.

Whitby failed to respond and only good defence from Oliver Telfer and John Hatton stopped North Shields from scoring immediately.

However, it was merely a matter time before North Shields crossed to score again leaving the score 15-13.

Whitby responded well, showing the same mental resilience that has served them well this season, with outside backs Aaron Jones, Connor Clennan and Kyle Woods making ground through the North Shields defence at will.

From this Whitby gained penalty which Gregson converted and made it 16-15.

Whitby continued to regain control with the powerful forwards pushing their counter parts back towards their line before Luke Brown crashed his way through for a try which Stu Gregson converted to make it 23-15.

North Shields were allowed back into the game via Whitby’s continued ill-discipline giving the hosts field position regularly.

Whitby’s strong defence held out for what seemed like an eternity before North Shields crossed for a converted try to make the score 23-22.

With the match building to a nail biting crescendo Whitby’s hearts were broken by a controversial penalty awarded to North Shields, whose fly-half kept his composure to make the score 25-23

Man of the match went to Clements.

After the game coach Oliver Roberts said: “It was a valiant effort by the Maroons, who played without the ball for significant amount of the match and ultimately that cost us.”

Whitby Harlequins faired better than the Maroons, beating bitter rivals Guisborough 2nds 44-10 in an emphatic performance.

The returning Jack Reeves scored a hat-trick.

Manager Rob Reed said: “There was not one poor performance on Saturday.

“Everybody did themselves proud it shows that the club is in as strong as a position as it has been for long time, with the strength of the second team.”