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Home > News > Seaham 20 - Hartlepool 14
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Your News Seaham 20 - Hartlepool 14
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Life in Division Two got off to a very promising start for Seaham as they entertained their old nemesis, Hartlepool. They side may have been forgiven for travelling in optimistic spirits; having inflicted heavy defeats on their hosts home and away when the sides last met in 2007. However, the side they met on this occasion turned out to be a total contrast.

Whilst the visitors’ heavy pack looked to make good ground with their rolling mauls in the opening minutes, Seaham remained calm and defended sternly. The ball was eventually turned over and Seaham raced into the Hartlepool half. Jon Dye, playing out of position at fly half, broke the defensive line and took in two defenders before offloading to Grant Dixon. Unfortunately, the big flanker fumbled the pass and the move ended.

A minute later, Dye took a quick pass from scrum half Henry Brace and spotted space on the left flank. He lobbed a clever cross field kick over the top of the Hartlepool defence and John Dixon chased up only for the ball to roll into touch 15 metres short.

After enjoying a monopoly of the early possession, Seaham took a deserved lead in the 4th minute. Second row partners and brothers, Michael and Chris Bland carried the ball into the opposition defence and created gaps then centre Mark Wilson followed up and took a popped pass before crashing over from 5 metres for his first try of the season. Dye’s conversion made it 7-0.

The play evened out for the next ten minutes with the visitors’ centres and fly half posing a significant threat with their elusive running lines. Fortunately, the Seaham midfield were in sterling form in defence and shuddering tackles by Dye and Graham Aldus stifled any progress Hartlepool were making.

The game turned fractious in the 18th minute when Seaham hooker Kurt Miller found himself on the receiving end of a sucker punch. He retaliated and a bout of fisticuffs ensued with both packs of forwards trading blows. Standing a good ten metres from the breakdown, flanker James Ramshaw entered the fray with the intention of restoring the peace. However, when he was punched he retaliated with a flurry of blows in front of referee Mike Williams. He was then issued a red card and Kurt Miller a yellow. Hartlepool got off scot-free after initiating the brawl.

With a two-man advantage for the next ten minutes, Hartlepool would have been expected to capitalise and run amok but Seaham dug their heels in and defended stubbornly. They even counter-attacked and played much of the ten minutes in their visitors’ half. By the time Miller returned to the fray, his side had protected their clean sheet and gained a psychological advantage.

Seaham’s ascendancy was confirmed on 38 minutes when, following a fine flowing move, they battered their way into Pool’s 22. Grant Dixon received a short pass 5 metres out and was driven over the line by his big brother John for his third try of the season. The awkward conversion attempt from Jon Dye drifted narrowly wide but Seaham looked good value for their two score lead going into the break.

Half Time: SEAHAM (12) Hartlepool (0)

Seaham had a good opportunity to stretch their lead on 44 minutes when one of the visitors’ props caught Jon Dye with a high tackle. Andy Hogwood kicked for goal but his attempt drifted wide. Fortunately, winger Dean Armstrong had chased up the kick and won possession. The ball was spun back infield and Hogwood battered into the opposition before losing possession. Having spotted an offside, Mr Williams awarded Seaham a penalty. Dye made no mistake this time as he dissected the posts for a 15-0 lead.

The visitors piled on the pressure after intercepting a stray pass in their own 22 and flying upfield. Fortunately, full back Glen Hardie was on hand to prevent a certain try when he tore across the field, wrapped up the winger and shepherded him into touch.

Pool maintained the ascendancy and looked certain to score when their centre took a pass with the line beckoning, only to fumble his pass and concede possession. His reaction to the crowd’s hoots of derision gave a clear indication of the frustration that was creeping into his side’s game.

A third opportunity to score was prevented when the Hartlepool tight head found himself at the back of a strong rolling maul and dove for the line. Thanks to the effort of Seaham no 8 Dan Cahill, he fumbled the ball and conceded possession. From the resulting scrum, Henry Brace launched a big kick 40 metres downfield and into touch to nullify the pressure.

The visitors’ pressure did eventually reap benefits when their centre crossed Seaham’s line following a sustained spell of pressure on 58 minutes. With the conversion added, Hartlepool looked very much in the game.

Within five minutes, the visitors doubled their tally after their second row took a clean catch at a lineout on the edge of the Seaham 22 and started a rolling maul. Although the hosts did their best to disrupt the momentum, the visitors varied their drive and crossed for a second converted try to get within a point at 15-14.

Not wishing to be outdone by their visitors hard work, Seaham resumed play with vigour and took play deep inside Hartlepool’s half. Chris Bland fed Andy Hogwood and he punched a huge hole in the defence before offloading to Michael Bland. The ball was then shipped right for Dean Armstrong to touch down in the right hand corner for his second try of the season with 67 minutes on the clock. Jon Dye’s conversion missed but Seaham were 20-14 in front.

Dye had an opportunity to put his side nine points ahead in the 78th minute after prop Jonny Martin had been tackled around the neck but managed to drift his attempt wide and the game remained on a knife edge.

Hartlepool lost one of their centres around this stage when he foolishly vented his frustrations at Mr Williams and received a yellow card for his verbal abuse. Although Hartlepool tried to break out of their 22, Seaham maintained a firm footing and ran the clock down for a well deserved victory.

Full Time: SEAHAM (20) Hartlepool (14)

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