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Home > News > Seaham 7 - Wallsend 17
Your News Seaham 7 - Wallsend 17

On a perishingly cold day at the Leisure Centre, Seaham hoped to make amends for recent form and claim a much needed victory. Unfortunately, a host of factors combined to deny them.

Injury and unavailability once again proved an achilles heel for the Harbour. Senior players Jon Dye, Ryan Pink and Grant Dixon were missing with leg injuries whilst Mark Wilson's career now hangs in the balance after tearing a medial ligament last weekend. As if this wasn't enough, key prop Jonny Martin was missing with a nasty eye injury and fellow prop Gary Lynn was forced to work. With other props thin on the ground, selection was a nightmare.

Luckily for the Seaham selectors, prodigal son Matty Jackson reappeared and made a welcome return to their front row. The popular loosehead was joined at the coal face by the evergreen Steve Meir; whose mobility would be an integral part of Seaham's game. He really is too priceless to be allowed to retire without debate.

Glen Hardie got off to a flying start when he fielded a catch in his 22 and launched off on a trademark blistering run. Unfortunately for Seaham however, although his pace took him to the edge of the Wallsend 22, he ran out of support and conceded possession. The ball was cleared downfield and collected by Jack McCallum but his pass inside to Graham Aldus was knocked on.

Chris Bland conceded a third minute penalty when he entered a ruck from the side. Wallsendís fly half put a huge kick downfield for a lineout inside Seahamís 22. Fortunately for the hosts, the visitorsí hooker missed his jumper and Chris Bland redeemed himself with a safe catch to secure possession. Hardie took a quick pass from Brad Green and Hardie launched a huge clearance into touch just inside Wallsendís half.

Wallsend took the lead in the 5th minute following a lineout on the edge of Seahamís 22. Their second row palmed the ball down to their scrum half and he darted through several punitive tackles before touching down virtually unopposed under the posts. Their second row added the conversion and stretched the lead to 7-0.

Seaham battled their way back into the game following the restart. Although they had plenty of opportunities they were held at bay by a staunch and crafty defence. A good opportunity to get on the scoreboard came their way in the 12th minute when the Wallsend hooker was penalised for failing to roll away following a tackle. Graeme Steel attempted to kick Seaham into the corner for an attacking lineout but, for the second game in succession, somehow managed to kick the ball dead.

Chris Bland launched off on a barnstorming run up the centre of the pitch and it took four defenders to drag him to the floor. From the breakdown, Brad Green took the wrong option and was nailed by the opposition centre. However, he was deemed offside by referee Andy Wilson and issued with a yellow card.

Although they should have been in a position to take advantage of their extra man, Seaham were also reduced to 14 men within a minute. Brad Green demonstrated a reckless side to his game when he was caught swinging at an opposition player in front of the referee. Mr Wilson had no choice but to reach into his pocket once again and show the young scrum half a yellow card.

Seahamís numbers were reduced even further on 23 minutes when Rob Thornton, deputising at scrum half for the errant Green, was also shown a yellow card. The visitorsí scrum half spilled the ball at the base of the scrum and Thornton flattened him. However, Mr Wilson adjudged that the ball was still in the scrum and banished Thornton to the touchline for ten minutes.

Wallsend took advantage of their extra man within three minutes. Poor defending from the base of a ruck allowed the Tynesiders scrum half to dance his way through a crowded, albeit disjointed, defence and touch the ball down in the right corner for a 12-point lead. The touchline conversion was missed by their second row this time.

Once both sides were back to full strength the game flowed and both sides seemed intent on registering scores. Unfortunately for Seaham however, poor passing and decision making proved to be their downfall.

Half Time: SEAHAM (0) Wallsend (12)

Seaham resumed play in determined spirits following the break. Hardieís strong runs proved a constant menace but Wallsend continued to defend well and stifle their hosts each time.

Seaham began to gain a psychological edge in the lineouts after Ben Bell and Mick Bland began contesting the oppositionís throws and stealing several catches. This appeared to rattle their middle jumper and he attempted to head butt Bland. Fortunately for him, he missed and, even more importantly, so did Mr Wilson as his attention was diverted elsewhere.

The game took on a cynical edge around the 50 minute mark with numerous late tackles and cheap shots in evidence. After passing the ball from the base of a ruck, Brad Green was taken out outrageously late with a head-high tackle. Although no action was taken in this instance, Seaham flanker James Ramshaw was penalised when a seemingly well-timed tackle was adjudged late.

Replacement wing Andrew Baxter squandered a perfectly good scoring opportunity on 56 minutes. With a two man overlap on his left, and with the try line beckoning, he unwisely chose to cut inside. As a result, he was tackled, lost possession, and squandered a good scoring opportunity; much to the dissatisfaction of the crowd.

Baxterís foolishness was repeated within three minutes when, with another overlap on the left wing, he took the wrong option and cut inside once again. This time he was met with a heavy tackle and received no sympathy when he turned the ball over.

As the game entered into the final quarter, Seaham looked as determined as ever to battle their way back. Wallsendís hooker was yellow-carded for an off-the-ball tackle on 62 minutes. With an extra man in attack, Seaham looked dangerous and Hardie stretched the visitorsí defence with a strong run that almost saw him over the line. Several phases were worked then centre Graham Aldus stormed over for his sixth try of the season. Hardie added the extras and Seaham were back in it at 12-7.

Seaham earned their third yellow of the contest in the 71st minute when lofty second row Michael Bland cynically scooped the ball back from a ruck right in front of the ref. By this stage, Blandís younger brother Chris had also left the field with a shoulder injury, so achieving any positive result would be a major challenge. Still, Seaham continued to press. Rather than run the clock down and settle for a losing bonus point they looked intent on stealing the show.

Unfortunately for the hosts, Wallsend launched an attack down the left flank and barged their way to the corner. Their wing dove for the line but was held up by a brave and effective tackle right on the line. The visitors followed up in support and drove over the line for a try. With time up on Mr Wilsonís watch, this proved to be a sickening blow for Seaham. Although the conversion was missed, they trailed by ten points and a losing bonus point was snatched from their grasp.

Had Seahamís players managed to exercise better discipline and decision-making throughout the course of the game, perhaps the outcome may have been rather different. With three games remaining, they now find themselves perilously close to a relegation spot and can only hope that their basement rivals enjoy less luck.

Full Time: SEAHAM (7) Wallsend (17)

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