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Home > News > Seaham 5 - Chester le Street 10
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Your News Seaham 5 - Chester le Street 10
25
JAN

Seaham won the toss and elected to play upfield throughout the opening half. Their forwards enjoyed a dominant opening ten minutes and turned Chester possession over in their favour almost at will. However, they were almost caught out when the visitors ran the ball from just inside their own half and spun out towards their left wing, who knocked on with the try line begging.

By the 11th minute the visitors had managed to settle and looked keen to attack. They worked an intricate scissors move in midfield and their inside centre took a crash ball at pace. Unfortunately for him he ran straight into a huge Lee Phillips tackle that not only stopped him dead in his tracks but also dislodged the ball and earned Seaham a defensive scrum on the edge of their 22. Play was halted briefly whilst both players received minor attention. Mark Wilson was forced into leaving the field with a bloody nose a minute later to be temporarily replaced by Kelvin Bowdrey but returned to the fray on 19 minutes.

Phillips made his presence felt in the 26th minute when, with his attacking options limited, he guided a crossfield kick towards the left wing for Gareth Hawkins to run onto. Unfortunately, the big youngster ran out of space as the ball evaded his hands and ran into touch. From the resulting lineout, Michael Bland leaped magnificently to take the opposition's catch and regain possession for the Harbour. Stu Barrass then orchestrated a rolling maul and the hosts' pack rumbled menacingly towards the line. Chester defended stubbornly and conceded several penalties but Seaham remained focussed. Eventually, their efforts paid dividends as prop Gary Lynn crossed for his first try of the season and a 5-0 lead. Full back Glen Hardie wasn't quite so fortunate with his conversion attempt as the ball drifted to the left of the posts.

Two minutes later Seaham were penalised thirty metres in front of their posts when a rolling maul went to the floor and pack leader Stu Barrass entered the ruck from the side. Chester's fly half duly slotted the ball between the uprights to narrow the lead to two points in the hosts' favour.

Seaham were forced into making their first substitution of the day when Gareth Hawkins was forced to leave the field of play and was replaced by Graeme Steel. He reverted to his accustomed full back berth and Glen Hardie occupied the left wing spot vacated by the youngster. Shortly afterwards, Seaham were penalised for an offence at the breakdown but were let out of jail when the ball drifted wide of the posts; so at least they retained their lead going into the break.

Half Time: SEAHAM (5) Chester-le-Street (3)

With the sun at their backs, Seaham played downfield for the second half and they appeared to inject a sense of urgency into their game. Dave Drinkwater led from the front and the back row trio of Bell, Wilson and Cahill were in the thick of everything. When the ball was spun out by promising scrum half Grant Dixon, his brother John, playing out of position at fly half, made some excellent line breaks and caused the visitors some concern. Dan Rochester also enjoyed some good runs down the right wing and was unlucky to receive a forward pass from Wilson with an open try line beckoning.

Chester's left winger endured a torrid time of it throughout the opening five minutes of the half and knocked on twice in as many minutes. His misery was made complete in the 48th minute when he tackled Rochester well but failed to roll away and was penalised for preventing fair release; a transgression that resulted in a yellow card and a ten minute rest in the sin bin.

Ideally, this should have been Seaham's cue to take advantage of their extra man. Sadly, they appeared to take their foot off the gas when the opposition were there for the taking. As a result, they were hit on the break up the flank and Chester's right wing made a mockery of Steel and Tisseman's defence as he beat them to the chase and touched down right of the posts. The added conversion twisted the knife even further as Chester took a 10-5 lead with 54 minutes gone. Seaham made a double substitution for the restart with props Dave Drinkwater and Gary Lynn making way for Steve Topping and Scott Anderson.

Seaham were reduced to fourteen men on 62 minutes when Lee Phillips was adjudged to have entered a ruck from the side. However, his teammates defended well and counter-attacked at every opportunity as they looked to get back in the game. Their line remained uncrossed when the fiery Bristolian returned to the fray with eight minutes remaining.

Several opportunities came Seaham's way as the game ebbed but they lacked the killer instinct at vital times. Chester were awarded a penalty late in the game. Fortunately it drifted left of the posts, but Seaham were unable to create any further scoring opportunities and Mr Wise's final whistle heralded the fact that Seaham had gone nine games - and three months -since registering their last victory in all competitions. Things can only get better... they hope.

Full time: SEAHAM (5) Chester-le-Street (10)

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