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Home > News > Seaham overcome South Tyneside College
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Your News Seaham overcome South Tyneside College
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South Tyneside College could have been forgiven for thinking that they were coming to Deneside for a forward-dominated slugfest, as recent history had shown. However, what they found was a new-look Seaham that combined the best of their forward power with some efficient and ambitious attacking flair, thanks to their exciting young threequarter line.

The game was very much in the balance for the opening quarter with both packs going hammer and tongs to establish the upper hand. Solid defence kept both sides at bay but the visitors conceded a 14th minute penalty to the left of the posts when they went over the top at a ruck. Young full back Graeme Steel attempted a kick at goal but his effort somehow drifted wide so the visitors were let off the hook. Nevertheless, the Harbour maintained their offensive and attacked down the flanks well. Wingers Dean Armstrong and Jack McCallum were given ample attacking opportunities and caused their opposite numbers frequent concern.

Invigorated by their stroke of luck, the College attacked down the middle and their crash centre virtually beat the entire Seaham defence single-handed; making a mockery of some poor tackling. Fortunately, flanker Grant Dixon was on hand to put in a thumping tackle, turn the ball over and regain possession. The brave youngster hurt his hand in a similar feat several minutes later and was forced off the field for ten minutes to take some treatment.

Rolling replacement, Paul Scott, made a solid impact at number 8 and provided good ball for scrum half Brad Green. The livewire youngster had the luxury of being able to ship out quality ball to his fly half Dave Davison or take some sniping runs around the base of the scrum. This created great disruption and allowed some forward impetus from which the hosts benefitted greatly. A clean catch by Ben Bell at a lineout was recycled and his pack rumbled it towards the line. Supersub Scott emerged from the pile of bodies with the ball and referee Mark Wise signalled the first score of the day with 31 minutes gone. Steel launched a fine conversion attempt from the touchline but his attempt fell just short.

The rest of the half was played out with both sides looking to add to the scoreboard but some solid defensive work, added to the odd handling error here and there, ensured that there was only a single score on the board at the interval.

Half Time: SEAHAM (5) South Tyneside College (0)

Seaham resumed the game with vigour following the break and looked intent on building a large score. Once again they attacked down the flanks with centres Chris Bland and Glen Hardie shipping out quick quality ball to their fast men on the wings, Armstrong and McCallum.

Looking to emulate his father John's form when Seaham were at their peak, Jack McCallum showed his fine pedigree and touched down to double Seaham's lead on 45 minutes. Dave Davison spun the ball quickly through several pairs of hands before reaching the youngster, who touched down in the right corner for his fifth try of the season. However, he soiled his altar boy reputation by throwing the ball in his opposite number's face and causing a sustained nosebleed. Following a stern lecture, play resumed and big second row Andy Hogwood slotted an excellent conversion attempt from the right touchline to stretch the lead to 12 points.

The visitors lost their loosehead prop around the hour mark following a tough duel with promising youngster Neil Howard, who looked as solid as a rock against a notable pack. Their big second row tried his luck against him for a short while before they made a substitution and introduced a fully fledged prop; a testament to the hard work put in at the coalface by young Mr Howard.

Seaham continued their offensive and introduced two fresh faces on the wings. Matt Lowery replaced Armstrong on the left wing and Paul Atkinson deputised for McCallum on the right. Although both relatively new to the game, both are capable of strong defence as well as blistering pace, so there was very little concern from the home supporters.

The visitors registered a score on 64 minutes when their ever elusive right wing evaded numerous tackles before touching down in the bottom right hand corner. The conversion was narrowly missed but the College were within a score of their hosts at 12-5, and with a quarter of an hour to play, there was everything to play for.

Many astute observers of recent history between the clubs may have sensed a feeling of Déjà vu at this point; Seaham having squandered two-score leads against the College boys on several occasions over the preceding seasons. However, thanks to their fresh new approach, added to the implementation of coach John Whitehead's game plan, and the inclusion of back row stalwart Steve Meir, they stood their ground.

If anything, the late concession of a try seemed to spur Seaham into stepping up a gear in order to keep a firm grip on a game they didn't deserve to lose. Their forwards provided solid ball and fly half Dave Davison ensured that all positional play took place in the South Tyneside half. Of course, as expected, the visitors attempted to counter-attack at every opportunity but their efforts were stifled by some sterling defence with man-of-the-match Grant Dixon in the thick of everything.

Seaham were awarded a 79th minute penalty in front of the visitors' posts and Davison spun it right. The ball was passed through several pairs of hands before ursine second row Stu Barrass took possession and drove over the line for his first try of the season. Hogwood launched another monumental touchline conversion but this effort sailed just right of the posts.

The College restarted looking to notch another try in an effort to secure a losing bonus point but, if anything, it was Seaham who had the momentum and looked the most likely to register the next score. However, time was against both sides and Mr Wise blew for time to signal Seaham's first win over the College for quite a few seasons.

Full Time: SEAHAM (17) South Tyneside College (5)

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