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Home > News > Hartlepool 58 - Seaham 22
Your News Hartlepool 58 - Seaham 22

Seaham maintained their season-long problem of travelling light for games due to a combination of injuries, holidays and work commitments. The team of absentees was arguably stronger than the one which took to the field. However, the fighting spirit of the die-hards would take some matching by any team fielded by Seaham this season.

Pre-match cry-offs and no-shows left the Harbour Lads with 14 men leading up to the kick off but their numbers were bolstered by a 49-year old. Colin Hall borrowed a pair of boots and took his place in the front row as if he had never been away. Along with Jonny Martin and Gary Lynn, he provided a solid platform for his team to play off.

The hosts were quick out of the blocks and their speedy backs looked threatening every time they were in possession. The sheer pace of their threes posed problems for Seaham and their fly half sailed through a sea of flailing arms and missed tackles for a converted try with 4 minutes on the clock.

Seaham battled back and a strong carry by Jonny Martin took them close to the line before being brought to the floor. Shortly afterwards, storming runs by Graham Aldus and Andy Hogwood also took them desperately close to the Hartlepool line. John Dixon, deputising at fly half, kept play tight and shipped short passes to his forwards but a collision at a breakdown led to him leaving the field with a twisted knee. Glen Hardie moved forward to fly half with Andrew Baxter moving to full back. His place on the wing was taken by another 49-year old, Steve Wilkinson.

Play resumed with Seaham on the offensive. Hartlepool defended their line well but referee Paul Mackings eventually tired of their transgressing and issued their tight head prop with a yellow card. Brad Green took a quick tap and charged for the line. He too was stopped short but big flanker Grant Dixon picked and barged over for his sixth try of the season. The conversion was missed by Glen Hardie but Seaham were back in the game at 7-5.

Seaham had a great chance to take the lead on 19 minutes when Glen Hardie broke then fed Graham Aldus with a pass. The big centre stormed towards the top left hand corner but was stopped short.

Seaham were reduced to 14 men in the 22nd minute when a spot of over-exuberance at a breakdown led to big centre Chris Bland being issued a yellow and sent behind the posts for the first time this season.

Seaham were caught out when they had a scrum five metres from their line and Brad Green picked from the base. Rather than clear his lines, he dithered about and was eventually caught and forced to touch down and concede a scrum. Hartlepool stole a nudge and their number 8 touched down for a pushover try, which was converted to stretch the lead to 12-5.

Still, the Harbour battled upfield and kept the ball tight amongst their pack. Returning number 8 Dan Cahill was enjoying himself in the tight exchanges and carried well each time. Seaham worked their way close to the Hartlepool line but their defence was firm with Gary Lynn and Brad Green stopped short.

Once again, poor tackling by Seaham allowed their hosts the perfect opportunity to build momentum going forward and they registered a third try on 37 minutes plus an added conversion to go 19-5 ahead.

The visitors woes were compounded shortly afterwards when Graeme Steel brought his man to the floor but Mr Mackings adjudged that hed tip-tackled him and issued a yellow just before the interval. Hartlepool took advantage and ran a quick tap over in the corner for their try bonus point.

Half Time: Hartlepool (24) SEAHAM (5)

The hosts looked to carry on where theyd left off after the break. Their left wing made a mockery of the entire Seaham team and danced his way past the entire team. A kick over the top of the defence saw a fortunate bounce fall into the hands of a Hartlepool player for try number five with 43 minutes on the clock.

Excellent handling and passing led to the hosts crossing for a sixth try two minutes afterwards, in spite of a brave attempt to stifle the move by skipper Ben Bell. Luckily for Seaham, most of the tries were being scored in the corners so the conversions were being missed; making the scoreboard look a little kinder at 34-5.

Hartlepool looked to be going for the jugular when they gathered the restart and charged upfield. However, fly half Glen Hardie read their intentions well and was in place to intercept a pass. The flame-haired flyer then raced downfield to touch down under the posts for a try converted by himself to reduce the arrears to 34-12.

The hosts, with the game virtually in the bag by this stage, looked to run the ball from all areas of the field, with their number 8 in barnstorming form. They recorded tries on 51, 57 and 59 minutes with one conversion to build up a 51-12 advantage.

On 62 minutes they looked likely to nail a tenth try but Steve Wilkinson intercepted a stray pass and charged for the try line. With his opposite number gaining steadily on him, the veteran held him off before shipping a scoring pass to Graham Aldus, who crossed for his seventh try of the season. 51-17. The visitors supporters were going berserk on the touchline by this stage and urging them to score a fourth try and secure a vital bonus point.

With their Division Two survival at stake, Seaham set off with a firm purpose. They battered away at the Hartlepool line with Mick Bland, Grant Dixon, Gary Lynn and Dan Cahill all picking and driving before being stopped inches from the line. Brad Green then spotted an opportunity and sniped over the line for the bonus point try on 69 minutes.

The hosts were to have the last laugh however and a converted try in the 76th minute took the score to 58-22. Fortunately, the hosts kicker had only managed to nail four of his ten conversion attempts; otherwise the scoreline may have looked a lot more emphatic.

Full Time: Hartlepool (58) SEAHAM (22)

With a bonus point in the bag, the visitors supporters were in jubilant spirits. The outcome of this particular fixture was already sealed but, with a valuable bonus point secured, results elsewhere were now more important than ever. Unfortunately for Seaham however, both Barnard Castle and Prudhoe & Stocksfield won their games. This meant that Seaham were relegated by two points.

The sanction of 5 league points for failing to play North Shields back in February had proved to be the deciding factor between survival and relegation after all. Life in Division 2 may be over for now but, rest assured, Seaham RUFC will be back

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