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Home > News > Newton Aycliffe 8 - Seaham 10
Your News Newton Aycliffe 8 - Seaham 10

Seaham travelled down to Moore Lane in confident spirits; bolstered by two minibuses full of supporters for this crunch top-of-the-table clash. They were also keen to defend an unbeaten league run that stretched back to the early part of September. The travelling fans were vocal throughout the game and played a key role in urging their beloved Harbour on to success.

The visitors started well and dominated the opening 20 minutes; with their props Gary Lynn and Paul Scott in rampant form in the set pieces and around the fringes. John Dixon enjoyed a strong performance in the second row alongside the returning Andy Hogwood and they provided the solidity that enabled their back row trio of Grant Dixon, Mark Wilson and Ben Bell to break away and dominate the breakdown area.

The game got somewhat fractious just after the 10-minute mark when one of the Aycliffe second rows was spotted head-butting number 8 Ben Bell. One or two of the Seaham players took exception to this and a bout of fisticuffs ensued. Fortunately for the errant second row, amidst the flurry of activity, the referee only spotted one of his fellow players swinging a relatively soft punch and cited that as the penalty offence. At this point, Mr Moore deemed that no further action was necessary.

John Dixon came close to opening the scores on 19 minutes when he crossed the hosts try line, only for referee Nick Moore to adjudge that hed lost the ball over the line. Aycliffe were then able to win the resulting scrum and scramble the ball way with a good clearance kick from their fly half. Having been sent off in the corresponding fixture last season, big blindside flanker Grant Dixon was keen to make a big impression and put in some crunching tackles to keep the momentum of the game in his sides favour.

In spite of the pressure exerted on them by their visitors, Newton Aycliffe took the lead on 28 minutes when one of the Seaham forwards was spotted handling in a ruck. A penalty was awarded and Aycliffes full back kept his cool to put the ball through the posts for a 3-0 lead.

Seaham stormed back from the restart and strong runs from Jon Dye, his fellow centre Graham Aldus and flanker Mark Wilson, made for good territorial gain. Another promising aspect of Seahams game was the support play between their full back Graeme Steel and young wingers Joey Jones and Glen Hardie. Jones demonstrated good character and played a storming part in the game; even after he had been blindsided by one of the opposition front rows during the 10th minute fracas.

Seahams pressure eventually paid dividends shortly before the interval when Jon Dye stormed through for his fourth try of the season to snatch the lead. Scrum half Brad Green nailed an excellent conversion attempt and Seaham were 7-3 ahead; but it should have been more, according to many of those on the sidelines.

Half Time: Newton Aycliffe (3) SEAHAM (7)

The second half followed a similar pattern to the first with Seaham looking to extend their lead whilst their hosts varied their game plan to suit. Promising young half backs Brad Green and Jack McCallum enjoyed good possession thanks to their dominant pack and distributed the ball well. However, slippery conditions led to handling errors and many scoring opportunities went amiss. Many on the sidelines began to hope that Seaham wouldnt rue their missed chances at the final whistle.

Thinking the game was already in the bag, Seaham showed signs of taking their foot off the gas around the hour mark and Aycliffe were allowed to battle their way back into the match. Fortunately for the visitors, they competed well at the breakdown area and were able to counter-ruck effectively to the point where they seemed to turn possession in their favour each time that Aycliffe entered their 22.

The lively visitors soaked up the pressure Aycliffe were exerting and launched some confident counter attacks from their own half. Their efforts earned them a penalty on 66 minutes when one of the Aycliffe players was penalised for not releasing in the tackle. Brad Green kept his cool and slotted another solid kick from an awkward angle to stretch his sides lead to 10-3.

This score set the game up for a grandstand finish, with Aycliffe attacking strongly and Seaham defending with equal vigour. The hosts were awarded a penalty a minute or so after the restart when one of the Seaham players came in from the side at a ruck. However, their full back was unable to convert his opportunity so the visitors were let off the hook and retained their 7-point lead.

Seahams efforts were hampered going into the final stages when influential flanker Grant Dixon aggravated an old should injury and was forced out of the game. Fortunately, he handed over the reins to Steve Meir; who, as expected, put in a strong and assured performance in carrying the ball forward and shoring up the defence well.

Aycliffe were given a glimmer of hope in the 79th minute when they charged their way through a sloppy tap down from a Seaham lineout and their hooker touched down for a try to narrow the deficit to 10-8. Their full back had an opportunity to level the scores with a conversion attempt from the touchline but, although on target, it fell a metre short and passed under the bar.

Mr Moore blew for time shortly afterwards and Seaham celebrated a vital away win at the home of one of their strongest rivals to consolidate their lead at the top of the table.

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