Six games left for Maroons to seal title

Whitby Maroons opened up a 12-point lead with just six league games to go after thrashing Washington.

Their lead was further extended as second-placed Houghton lost 24-22 as opponents Richmond grabbed a last-minute winning try.

Whitby travelled to Washington with just the two changes to the starting XV – George Reeves coming in at wing forward and Gordon Bland moving to centre for the unavailable Jack Pearson.

On the bench, Matt Jones and Andy Watson came in for their debuts for first team this year.

Washington kicked off and Whitby somewhat typically dropped the ball, putting themselves on the back foot.

A couple of free-kicks gave the home side momentum and the Maroons spent the first seven minutes defending.

When Whitby did get their hands on the ball it was clear that they had more pace out wide and with Gordon Bland in the centre pulling the strings, the three quarters slashed through the home defence with much regularity during a one-sided first half.

Centre Sam Webster and winger Stuart Gregson scored hat-tricks as the Maroons hit top gear with superb free flowing, off-loading support play.

Gordon Bland enjoyed his positional switch to centre also added two tries and Connor Clements one.

With the game effectively over, Whitby emptied the bench and all five subs entered the fray during the second half, this disrupted the flow somewhat but was a useful exercise in trying to expand the depth of the squad.

To their credit, Washington dug in and fought hard and the second stanza was a much more even contest with their forwards mounting a challenge up front.

The Maroons did add two more touchdowns though through veterans Dave Bland and Oliver Roberts after good approach work by Dan Marsay and Scott Armstrong.

Washington pressed hard for a score in the last 10 minutes but Whitby’s mean goal line defence stood strong as they were determined to keep a clean sheet.

Connor Clements and George Reeves enjoyed outstanding games at wing forward covering the field and making plenty of tackles and turnovers.

In the backs, Sam Webster and Gordon Bland showed invention and vision to set up scores, while wingers Stuart Gregson, Jack Reeves and Scotty Armstrong ran hard.

Scrummaging was once again average and a few hours are required on the machine to sort it out, the pack must train as a unit to improve this area.

Kick-off reception was again poor with too much dropped ball, but overall another plus though and the Maroons now have six games left in their chase for the Durham and Northumberland League three championship.

Manager Matt Jones added: “All twenty lads who travelled did well – we picked up three injuries during the game and it shows the need for depth in the squad.”

Whitby Gazette Man of the Match: Stuart Gregson.

The Maroons have a bye week next week but are at home the following two weeks, February 21 and 28 against Seghill and Yarm.

Big home crowds are expected for these pivotal clashes.

Washington 0 Whitby Maroons 69