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Home > News > Chester Le Street 8 - Seaham 17
Your News Chester Le Street 8 - Seaham 17

Seaham made the short journey to Chester-le-Street in buoyant spirits following their gutsy display against table-topping Whitby the previous week. Although they were deprived of the services of influential skipper John Dixon in the backs and Andy Hogwood, Stu Barrass and Gary Lynn in the forwards, they still remained confident; in spite of the fact that Riverside Park had not been a happy hunting ground for them in recent times.

Although the early stages of the game weren't particularly ill-tempered, the home pack appeared intent on adopting an aggressive approach and several big hits and cheap shots were made in the tackle area; not all of them legal. However, Seaham were able to rise above it and focus their attentions on the game. Chester's pack looked comfortable with the ball in hand and made good ground. Their efforts were rewarded in the 14th minute when Seaham conceded a penalty on the edge of their 22 for going off their feet. The home fly half slotted the ball through the posts for a 3-0 lead.

Seaham resumed the offensive from the restart and their pack worked them upfield with Mark Wilson and Dan Cahill in the thick of the action. To their credit, Chester defended well but it looked inevitable that Seaham would register points sooner rather than later. They wee awarded a penalty and ran the ball from their 10 metre line. Dave Davison drew in three defenders before offloading a lovely inside pass to centre Glen Hardie. The youngster's angle of running saw him sear through a narrow gap, pin his ears back and outpace the opposition defence before touching down under the posts for his third try of the season. Dave Davison's conversion saw Seaham take a 7-3 lead that appeared good value for their efforts with 19 minutes gone.

Chester had an opportunity to narrow the gap two minutes later when Dan Cahill was dubiously penalised for pulling a maul down. Fortunately for the Harbour, the hosts' fly half wasn't able to double his tally and his penalty attempt drifted to the right of the posts. However, the hosts did manage to register the next score on 32 minutes following a scrum in Seaham's 22. The visitors had been awarded the put-in but the ball was taken against the head by the hosts' experienced hooker. Their no 8 picked the ball up from the base of the scrum and, with Seaham's defence caught flat-footed, dove over the line for a try in spite of Stu Tisseman's valiant attempt to hold him up. The conversion was missed but the hosts were back in the lead at 8-7.

Seaham refused to lie down and allow things to get out of control as their forwards took a grip of the game. Michael Bland and Ben Bell ensured that lineout possession was at a premium and scrum half Brad Green distributed good ball to his backs. This led to some fine runs by the speedy centre pairing of Glen Hardie and Paul Atkinson, whilst full back Andrew Baxter also added his pace to the ofensive efforts. Their pressure saw them work their way up the right flank and they were eventually awarded a penalty when the hosts' hooker failed to throw in straight at a lineout in his own 22. Dave Davison took a quick tap and passed to veteran prop Dave Drinkwater, who drove forward and burrowed over the line for his sixth try of the season. Davison's second conversion of the day took Seaham 14-8 ahead with the last play of the half.

Half time: Chester-le-Street (8) SEAHAM (14)

Both sides made changes at the interval and came out in storming fashion. The hosts ran the ball from all areas of the pitch with their loosehead prop and blindside flanker making good ground for them. Seaham's defence was rather poor at times with a great many tackles being missed deep in the opposition's half and significant territory being conceded as a result. Luckily for them, some desperate last-gasp tackles from Dean Armstrong and Brad Green held Chester at bay.

Seaham's pack benefitted from the inclusion of Grant Dixon and Paul Scott, whose leadership qualities ensured that the ship remained steady in attack and defence. Heading into the final quarter of the game, both sides kept plugging away as they aimed to secure the game. Chester looked to acquire a converted try to gain a single-point advantage, whereas the visitors were keen to turn the screw and gain further scores. Although they had shown that they had the upper hand in terms of raw speed amongst their threequarters, Seaham failed to use this to their advantage and made some poor decisions in attack; taking the ball up the blindside and wasting chances. This made for an unnecessarily tense finale considering that they'd had ample opportunity to put the game to bed.

Seaham's efforts were eventually awarded in the 71st minute following a sustained spell of pressure that saw them virtually camped out deep in the hosts' half. Chester-le-Street were penalised in front of their posts as their forwards prevented fair release with Seaham looking highly likely to score a try. Dave Davison, having missed a previous attempt from forty metres, stepped up and coolly converted this attempt from the edge of the 22. So, at least the visitors had the luxury of a 9-point lead going into the closing stages.

Davison had an opportunity to extend the lead on 74 minutes when Chester were once again penalised for preventing release at a breakdown. However, this opportunity fell just short so the hosts were able to breath a sigh of relief as they were still in the game. Both sides went hammer and tongs as they looked to register scores that would win them the game. However, there were no further scores but one major moment of hilarity.

Match referee Alan Thompson found himself a little too close to a rolling maul and was bundled to the floor and ran over by the Seaham pack as they worked their way upfield. He made a determined attempt to regain his footing only to be flattened once again as the visitors looked to capitalise on their momentum. Fortunately, there was no harm done and no need to stop play as the game drew to a close.

As the final whistle blew, Seaham were understandably delighted to emerge victorious from a league game at Chester-le-Street and lay low a jinx that had hung over them like the sword of Damocles for many years.

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