SLIDESHOW: Whitby Maroons secure promotion

A large expectant crowd gathered at the Showfield to witness a Whitby side secure promotion to Durham and Northumberland League Two with a victory, even as early as the last day in February.

An unchanged starting line-up was selected from last week’s victory over Seaham, with power house James Gildroy and young Richard Eglon coming in on the bench alongside Anthoney Craig, who was returning from injury.

Maroons coach Darryl Grason'picture: Brian Murfield

Maroons coach Darryl Grason'picture: Brian Murfield

The visitors gave the Maroons a close game at the reverse fixture earlier on in the season, so another tough encounter was envisaged.

The hosts were ready and got off to an electrifying start, with solid lock Luke Brown bursting through with the first offensive move of the afternoon, to get his team up and running.

The shellshocked visitors had to regain some composure and find a foothold in the game which they were finding difficult against a rampant Whitby side. They did manage to hold out for a 10 minute period, before the try of the season so far was scored by the Maroons.

With Yarm losing their own line out 30m away from their own tryline, the ball was won by impressive number 8 Nick Beaumont who passed to scrum half David Bland.

Gordon Bland crashes over for one of his tries'picture: Brian Murfield

Gordon Bland crashes over for one of his tries'picture: Brian Murfield

The ball was flowingly passed through the advancing Whitby back line, which was duly finished off with the pacey and aggressive forward run by winger Stuart Gregson for a fantastic team try.

A pleasing aspect of the performance was how the scrum continues to improve with youngsters Nathan Kaz and Bruce Reed growing in confidence; with the help of Matt Russell a good consistent front row is emerging.

Whitby’s wait for the next points was short with another impressive youngster George Reeves going over to cement his own fine performance.

Yarm started to advance into the Whitby half of the pitch and scored their only points of the afternoon after a short kick into the corner was touched town by their plucky full back which was un-converted.

With 10 minutes left of the first half, the home side decided to wrap up the game as a contest with three tries in this period, the first of which was secure by Ollie Roberts.

The following brace of tries were scored by the impressive Gordon Bland who seems to have put his injury issues behind him just in time for an important period for his club.

He showed great timing and angles on his runs, making it easy for both captain Steve Allen and fellow centre Sam Webster to send him through with some great passing.

With three conversions added by Gregson, this made the half-time score 36-5.

The second half started in similar fashion to previous weeks, with the game seemingly won a slight switch off in concentration. However this was not to deter Whitby from securing more points with a quick double from the consistent Sam Webster who like his centre counterpart Bland, was timing his runs to perfection to gain enough space and momentum to get over the game line.

Any threat that the visitors posed was stifled by the tough tacking Connor Clements and Craig, with plenty of attacking threat coming from the aggressive Mitchell Cannon and the trickery from Jack Reeves.

The scoring was rounded off with a third for Bland when he danced and dummied his way through the Yarm defence to complete a fine hat-trick. With all three conversions added by Gregson the final score was 57-5.

This was a great display by a young squad of committed players, to secure promotion in February is a fine achievement and fully deserved by the commitment shown by the whole squad of players throughout the whole season.

Manager Matt Jones said: “This performance epitomised everything that we are trying to achieve with this talented group of players - an ethos of hard work and team spirit.

“With promotion now secured, we turn are attention to the Yorkshire Cup and more importantly keeping the momentum going to lift the league championship.

“It was great to see such a large crowd and I would like to thank everybody for their support.”