Ponteland 26 West 34

By Dave Picken - February 17 2019
Ponteland 26 West 34 A hat-trick from skipper Ryan Painter saved the day as for the second time this season Ponteland gave us quite a game. In fact, with ten minutes left of our first ever league visit it looked like our promotion hopes were to be dealt a big blow. The home side – second bottom of the league and on the receiving end of a number of hammerings in recent weeks – had gone into a 26-22 lead thanks to their ability to seize on our mistakes and take their chances with some slick handling ...

We lacked energy, and with a handful of changes from last week’s  win against in-form Stockton looked disjointed at times.

Ponteland had the advantage of the strong wind at their backs in the first half, and with some up and coming colts drafted into their team they gave it a go from the kick off.

We looked to have survived the early pressure but as we broke out Zac Southern, playing at inside centre in the absence of Peter Youll, was unable  to gather a high pass from Stu Waites. The lively home backs swooped with winger Connor White going over and fly half John McConnell converting.

David Heckles got his side back into the game five minutes later with a well timed pass from Stu sending the centre over for his first league try since his return from Horden.

The West coach was wide with his conversion, but it wasn’t long before his opposite number was on target for the second time.

Lanky centre Luke Chick – brother of Newcastle Falcons’ Callum – was an attacking threat all afternoon, and he evaded three tackles to go in next to the posts after Ponteland had secured good-line-out ball.

Our response was to use our dominance in the scrum to forge our way back upfield, and when we took the ball against the head Ryan Painter was quick to spot the blindside gap to go over.

Waites was just wide again as he kicked into the wind, but his talents weren’t needed for the try which gave his side the lead for the first time.

Painter made the break which took the play into the home half. Alex Barker took the ball on but full back Luke Mallinson was eventually tackled just short of the line.

Ponteland were penalised at the scrum, and with Painter opting for yet more scrums referee Tom Grayson had little choice in awarding a penalty try as the home pack continually infringed.

We went into the break with a slender 17-14 lead - mainly thanks to a try saving tackle from young winger Max Tennant as his opposite number looked set to go over in the corner.

And with the considerable breeze behind us in the second half it looked like we had weathered the storm.

Ambitions were dented just three minutes into the half when flanker Isaac Robinson was yellow carded for coming in at the side. He'd only just come on at the break for Adam Brown and, bizarrely, Ponteland went on to award him our Man of the Match accolade. Even Izzy admitting it must have been a case of mistaken identity.

Ponteland seized their opportunity and from a line-out some 30 metres from the West line caught the visitors napping with a throw to the front – No 8 Ben Stewart taking a pass and sprinting up the touchline to score in the corner followed by a superb conversion from McConnell.

We squandered a chance to regain the lead with Adam Coates failing to hold onto a pass with the line only five metres away.

Fortunately, he made amends two minutes later. Stu had set up a line-out five metres out from a penalty. John Bunter took good ball and Coates was the man in the maul to touch down to give his side a one point lead.

That wasn’t to last as Ponteland again showed how to move the ball with scrum half Dan Carruthers finishing off a sweeping move up the left wing.

This time McConnell failed to convert, but his side were back in the lead and looking to cause the upset of the day.

It looked like their luck might be in when Max Tennant lost control of the ball as he was about to touch-down and after doing the hard work in evading two tacklers.

However, the dominant West scrum, and determined skipper Ryan Painter, weren’t prepared to capitulate with pressure in the home 22 paying off twice in the closing minutes.

Painter restored his side’s lead on 75 minutes-  going through a gap close to the posts. He then put us more than one score ahead after Luke Mallinson had again been tackled just short of the line. The West forwards were there first there to create a gap on the blindside for Painter to finish the scoring.

The result keeps us in the same place - two points behind City and Northern with bottom club Whitby visiting in a fortnight. After this week's hard fought win we shouldn't be taking them for granted.

Ponteland: James Sheils, Connor White, Luke Chick, Jamie Taylor, James Charlton, John McConnell, Navaj Bal, Paul Baron, Lawrence Mew, Jon Livingstone-Evans, Chris Freer, Sean Bettison, Matt McKenna, Ben Stewart.

Replacements (all used): Harry Lane, Phil McAreavey, Josh Beswick.

Tries: White, Chick, Stewart, Carruthers

Cons: McConnell (3).

West: Luke Mallinson, Max Tennant, David Heckles, Zac Southern, Callum Johnston, Stu Waites, Ryan Painter (captain), Adam Coates, Andrew Rollins, Danny Cookland, John Bunter, Michael Hogan, Alex Barker, Adam Brown, Chris Atkins.

Replacements (all used):  Isaac Robinson, Jonny Hunter, Adam Peacock.

Tries: Painter (3), Heckles, Coates, Pen Try.

Conversions: Waites (1)

Yellow: Robinson

Referee: Tom Grayson (Northumberland).

Ponteland 26 West 34
Official West Hartlepool RFC (IP Logged)
17/02/2019 11:35
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Re: Ponteland 26 West 34
minimoneyman (IP Logged)
18/02/2019 11:40
Was only I conversion and the penalty try

Re: Ponteland 26 West 34
Dave Picken (IP Logged)
18/02/2019 11:51
Thanks Tom ... that's why you man the West scoreboard and I don't. I've changed it.

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