A blustery afternoon at the Showfield on Saturday hosted a Yorkshire Shield semi-final where Whitby Maroons took on an impressive Northallerton side, who will be playing at Twickenham this weekend in the National Vase.
The Maroons welcomed back Shane Young back into the fold with Sam Webster, Nathan Kaz and Luke Brown all
returning from injury.
The game started with the Northallerton fly half commanding territorial advantage with his impressive boot which accumulated with him finding touch just 5m out from Whitby’s line.
The following line out turned out to be a defensive disaster for the home side as a simple catch and drive was pushed over the line to give the visitors a five-point lead with a missed conversion.
This gave Whitby – Durham and Northumberland League 3 champions - the wake-up call they needed and the hosts started to see some good possession and territorial advantage.
A cruel blow was dealt when young prop Bruce Reed, took a nasty looking knock on the neck area which prematurely ended his afternoon, after he had made a most impressive start to the game, especially in
the ruck area.
The following ten minutes gave Whitby two kickable chances to get their points tally ticking over, however, quick taps were taken which concluded with no return for the Maroons.
The final period of the first half saw Northallerton camping in the Whitby half of the pitch but stout defending by Matt Russell, Luke Brown, Shane Young and Neil Waterfield held out making the half-time score 5-0 to Whitby.
The second stanza started with the Whitby backs seeing more of the ball with David Bland and Steve Allen keeping the team moving forward. Stuart Gregson and Jack Reeves started to make some dangerous runs along with Sam Webster and Gordon Bland in the centres.
The back row were tackling hard and cleaning plenty of ball up with Connor Clements, George Reeves and Nick Beaumont all having a good afternoon.
A good tactical game was been played by the visitors and any territorial advantage that was gained by the Maroons was soon pushed back through the boot of their number 10.
After a period of pressure, a penalty was awarded to Northallerton some 30m out and was coolly slotted over to give the visitors an eight point lead.
Whitby introduced veteran Rich Harrison, who replaced impressive Nick Beaumont at number 8 to try to provide some attacking options.
However, from a Northallerton line-out Harrison was judged to collapsing the maul and suffered a yellow card which was a large blow to Whitby.
The final moments of the game were played out by the experienced Northallerton side and with the last whistle of the competitive season for Whitby sounding, the final score 8-0.
A valiant effort from every Whitby player who came of the field with their head held high, after a great season which concluded with the league championship and a narrow defeat in a semi-final against a good outfit in Northallerton.
Coach Darryl Grason told the Whitby Gazette: “I thought our defence was superb but tactically we got it a little wrong.
“You have to take the points when you can in cup matches and I hope we have learnt our lesson.
“Overall though I cannot praise our boys enough, it has been a great season to be involved with the team and at times we played some great stuff.
“We have one of the smallest squads on the league and I would like to thank everyone who turned out for Whitby RUFC this season.
“Hopefully we can enjoy the summer and come back fresh and ready for the challenge of division two rugby.’
Whitby Gazette man of the match: Gordon Bland - great defensive show which aided in keeping the Northallerton backs quiet all afternoon.