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Home > News > Newton Aycliffe 32 - Seaham 5
Your News Newton Aycliffe 32 - Seaham 5

Seaham had a wonderful opportunity to build on the previous weekend's brave performance against league leaders Guisborough with a much easier fixture against Newton Aycliffe. However, they were terribly let down by numerous stayaways on the day of the match. Still, in spite of all of the disappointment, they were able to muster a match day squad and travelled to Moore Lane with their heads held high.

To make matters worse, Seaham's kit manager neglected to take the team strips to Newton Aycliffe with him. Fortunately for Seaham, their secretary was able to negotiate the loan of a set of strips and training bibs from Aycliffe and, with referee Dave Smithson's sympathetic blessing, the game was able to commence; albeit 15 minutes late. A wonderful example of grass roots rugby witnessed by the President of the Durham County RFU, Mr David Thompson. Fortunately, he too was able to understand Seaham's plight with a spot of knowing humour.

At least Seaham's newer players were able to get some much-needed game time under their belts at the expense of their lesser commited colleagues; and they took their chances well to deliver a gutsy performance from start to finish. Seaham's only downfall was their woeful tackling, which allowed the opposition to make inroads and register three tries before the break. Luckily, with the experience of the likes of Wilkinson, Meir, Wilson and Bland -added to the boundless energy of the newer players - they were able to keep themselves in the game. They eventually got themselves on the scoreboard after 31 minutes when Michael Bland took a fine lineout catch from stand-in hooker Matty Jackson and was driven forward by his pack. The rolling maul rumbled around 25 metres before going to ground and livewire flanker Steve Meir (pictured below) touched down for his first try of the season. Glenn Hardie drifted a touchline conversion attempt agonisingly wide of the posts but Seaham were back in the game at 15-5.

An otherwise clean game became slightly fractious in the 34th minute when Michael Bland took offence to an opponent dropping a knee on him when he was on the ground and laid into several of the opposition. Fortunately, Mr Smithson was on hand to bring the incident under swift control but he was left with no choice but to issue a yellow card to the Seaham youngster. His counterpart escaped punishment due to his offence not being quite so obvious in the eyes of the referee. Although they were a man short, Seaham regrouped and played the rest of the half out without conceding any further score.

Half Time: Newton Aycliffe (15) SEAHAM (5)

The second half followed a similar pattern to the first with Aycliffe looking to spin the ball at every opportunity and take advantage of their opposition's relative inexperience. Fortunately, Seaham's novice wings Chris Bland and Dan Rochester were marshalled well by skipper John Dixon and his centre partner Stuart Tisseman. Grant Dixon did well from the base of the scrum, in spite of the fact that he was carrying a leg injury, and supplied a steady supply of ball to young Glenn Hardie. The youngster, playing out of position at fly half, showed some real winger's pace with some blistering line breaks that caught the opposition flat-footed and made good ground. Only deperate defence halted his progress each time, but he appeared to grow in confidence with each opportunity.

Gareth Hawkins also enjoyed a solid game with some blistering runs out of defence as he looked to counter attack at every given opportunity. Unfortunately, his game came to an abrupt end around the hour mark when he was tackled and hurt his shoulder whilst placing the ball back for his support players. He was replaced at full back by coach Johnny Whitehead, who steadied the ship with some sound advice for his young charges. However, as the game progressed, the hosts appeared to grow in confidence and registered a further three tries; the last of which was converted, to go 32-5 ahead.

Seaham kept plugging away until the very end and put all of their energy into registering a second try and at least have the last say on proceedings. However, their efforts proved to be in vain and Mr Smithson blew for time.

Full Time: Newton Aycliffe (32) SEAHAM (5)

Neil Roseberry was full of praise for Seaham's players following the game...

"I'm so proud of our lads today for the solid efforts they put in; although I have to admit to being frustrated at the lads who dropped us in it. They've let themselves and their club down. We had a golden opportunity to kickstart our season today, get a much-needed win and climb the table but we've been badly let down. However, the culprits may have done us a favour in the long run because they've enabled us to discover some raw talent. I dare say we can fine tune these players, reward their loyalty by giving them the game time they deserve, and secure the long-term future of the club."

"I'd like to convey special thanks to the committee and players of Newton Aycliffe for the loan of their away strips and bibs - which enabled us to fulfil the fixture. I'd also like to thank our friend in the middle, referee Dave Smithson, for his patience and understanding. He officiated the match tremendously and made it an enjoyable game for both sides. This is what grass roots rugby should be all about."

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