Veteran outstrips Porto defence for decider

Centre Anth Craig scores Whitby/CRAV's first try with Nick Bentley walking in the background
Centre Anth Craig scores Whitby/CRAV's first try with Nick Bentley walking in the background

AS part of Whitby’s 60th anniversary tour to Portugal, the Maroons’ veterans joined forces with Clube de Rugby de Arcos de Valdevez (CRAV) to play an exhibition match against Porto Veterans.

Despite the intense heat, old boys Simon Dixon, Terry McCormack, Chris Riddolls, Nick Bentley, Jim Fountain and Matt Russell plus the newly-appointed Anth Craig and David Grady joined forces with their CRAV counterparts to put on a display of fine, free-flowing rugby against a strong visiting side from Porto.

The early exchanges went in Porto’s favour, their forwards proving a handful while the hosts took time to gel together.

Several good phases allowed their backs to spin the ball wide for their left-winger to open the score.

Whitby/CRAV soon overcame any initial linguistic problems and began to play with much more assurance.

Matt Russell and Simon Dixon drove the forwards and made serious inroads in the visiting defence. The quick ball released to centre Anth Craig saw him weave his way through the Porto back-line to open the home side’s score.

The remainder of the first half remained in the balance before the final passage of play when Porto once again rounded the winger to regain the lead.

The second half began with hooker Chris Riddolls showing he has lost none of his pace, carrying the ball into contact before releasing to Whitby’s travelling medic Terry McCormack who ground out some “hard yards” and set up a ruck on the halfway line.

From here the ball moved to the left winger who made a further 10m before popping the ball inside to Jim Fountain whose 40 metre sprint took him to the Porto tryline where he was awarded a penalty try after a dangerous tackle from the visitors’ fullback.

With the game back in the balance, Porto began to throw everything at Whitby/CRAV and only strong tackling from Nick Bentley and David Grady kept them from regaining the initiative.

As both sides began to tire in the unrelenting heat, it was left to Bentley to put the hosts in front for the first time with a strong 39m run to score in the corner.

With only minutes remaining, the match was sewn up when CRAV’s veteran winger Jose Perreira outstripped the defence for the concluding try.

Whitby/CRAV man of the match: David Grady - relentless running and tackling despite the temperature.

Whitby/CRAV 20 Porto 10