WITH the largest home crowd for many years and on a perfect day for running rugby, the Maroons entertained sixth placed Sedgefield and racked up a 50-point win.
The visitors brought with them a juggernaut pack and from the offset it was obvious this would be a match of contrasting styles, with the visitors trying to play it close and Whitby looking to play their usual 15-man open game.
A Sedgefield indiscretion at the breakdown saw full back Christian Pollock put Whitby ahead. Just afterwards, the recalled Joe Lenton finished off an excellent backs move to go in at the corner to give the Maroons an 8-0 lead.
The Maroons were looking to stretch the big Sedgefield pack and with the two Gradys working in tandem fast ball kept coming the home side’s way.
Bulldozing Dave Straker streaked over to extend the lead before Lenton collected his second with a fine individual effort, beating four defenders on the way to the tryline.
Scrum half Gordon Bland, who has had a big impact since his return from the rigs, also crossed after a couple of mesmeric sidesteps.
Sedgefield retreated into their shell and the last nine minutes of the half were used up by pick and go tactics as Whitby comfortably dealt with the one dimensional threat. They led 25-0 at half-time.
The second period saw more of the same from Sedgefield as they showed no imagination or willingness to move the ball beyond nine.
The Maroons did the opposite and looked to spread it at every opportunity.
With a few replacements on Bland shifted to the wing and quickly helped himself to a second touchdown.
Killing of the ball at the breakdown was now ruining the match as a spectacle as damage limitation and spoiling tactics kicked in.
The Maroons were guilty of being sucked into taking Sedgefield on upfront and lost their way for 15 minutes.
However, as the visitors tired, Steve Allen opened them up with a great pass to the strong running Anthoney Craig who finished off in style.
Veteran Matt Russell poached his usual close range score before Ed Richardson, back in the team and playing his best rugby of the season, finished strongly to add another two tries.
A good win for the Maroons but too often when within range of the line players took looked to offload miracle passes when a steady recycling would have seen more scores added.
At times Whitby got sucked into a niggly tight battle which did not suit them and they must learn to stick to the open game which has served them well all season.
Another big negative was the recurrence of the hamstring injury which has dogged prolific goal-kicking full back Christian Pollock who is likely to be out for at least three weeks.
There were some good points, another clean sheet which means the Maroons have only conceded five points in total in their last five games - a remarkable statistic, and the form of veterans Richard Harrison and Tim Richardson who steadied the ship and brought much-needed nous to the second half.
Man of the Match: Dave Straker - powerful performance from the burly centre; match Sponsor: Wasley Chapman Accountants.
* The Maroons now have five games left and this Saturday sees them travel to Seghill.
Whitby coach Darryl Grason said: “Seghill is not an easy place to go, they have a small ground and know how to play on it.
“Any team that scores 22 points against BBOB must know what they are doing so our defence will need to be up to it’s usual high standard.
“Also we scored nine tries last week and only managed one conversion so it is imperative we find someone to cover our goal-kicker Christian Pollock’s absence.”
The Maroons’ next home game is on 16 March against Washington.
Whitby Maroons 50 Sedgefield 0