By JGD - September 6 2015
RICHMONDSHIRE 16 - 18 TECH TECH celebrated their return to the RFU league structure with a trip to North Yorkshire on Saturday. For their opening Northumberland & Durham Division 3 game TECH travelled to Theakston Lane Playing Fields to face hosts Richmondshire. The Yorkshiremen finished last season comfortably in mid table so the game was always likely to provide a good test of TECH’s progress. Despite no less than 8 players being unavailable for various reasons the Hartlepool side travelled with a full squad determined to give a good account of themselves.    


Skipper Paul MOSS won the toss and opted to play up the considerable slope in the first half. The game started badly for the visitors when the kick off was knocked on giving the home pack an immediate opportunity to test the TECH scrum. As the home eight then proceeded to shunt the visitors back some 10 metres with a powerful drive it looked as if it could prove a long difficult afternoon for the boys in blue. Although they managed to repel this initial onslaught TECH earned only the briefest of respites as ‘Shire were awarded a penalty on the visitors’ 10 metre line after just 3 minutes. The home scrum half made no mistake with the kick to give his side a 3-0 lead.

In the opening period the home eight continued to have the upper hand but TECH defended resolutely denying the hosts any further points. TECH were slowly warming to their task and after 14 minutes they had the chance to open their account when after a series of forward drives they earned a penalty wide out left on the home 22. Unfortunately Paul MOSS saw his kick go wide of the target. The visitors though were growing in confidence and kept the pressure on the hosts especially up front as some good driving play took ‘Shire deep into their own territory, After 20 minutes this pressure resulted in the home scrum half being awarded a yellow card as the hosts defence became more desperate. Shortly afterwards a quickly taken penalty saw TECH move the ball through hands out to Michael FOSTER who crossed for an unconverted try.

More success was to follow for TECH just a couple of minutes later when they scored again. On this occasion a ‘bullocking’ run by Richard FOSTER saw him brush past would be tacklers to touch down. Paul MOSS added the extras to take the score to 3-12.

With full side now showing a lot more confidence and self-belief TECH continued to defend strongly whenever the hosts threatened as well as showing their attacking intent as they looked to add to their score. On the half hour their pressure told when the home defence again transgressed in their own 22. Paul MOSS was again successful with his kick giving his side a 3-15 lead. ’Shire continued to press whenever possible but the determined tackling of the TECH side continued to deny them and the sides reached half time with their 12 point lead still intact.

It was important that TECH continued in the same fashion as the 2nd period got underway and in the early stages they did just that. An early break from Peter CONSIDINE took play into the home half but unfortunately the move petered out without threatening the ‘Shire line.

Having shown great discipline through the first period TECH started to allow themselves to get on the wrong side of the referee. This allowed the home side to build up pressure again and after 17 minutes of the half TECH were penalised for off side following a line out in their 22. The home pack then set up a series of drives resulting in them crossing for a converted try, closing the gap to 10-15. Just 3 minutes later another penalty to ‘Shire saw them close the gap again with a well struck kick.

As the game entered its final quarter both sides were looking for that little bit extra in their quest for victory. As throughout the contest the determined TECH defence continued to frustrate the home side with particularly big tackles being made by Richard FOSTER, Alex THOMPSON and Paul DOVE.

With just 6 minutes of the game remaining it looked as though the home side had wrested victory from TECH when they were awarded another kickable penalty just outside the visitors 22. The successful kick took the hosts into a 16-15 lead.

It would have been easy for TECH to feel the result had gone but they showed a determination to pull themselves back from the brink. With just a couple of minutes remaining a TECH penalty took play into the home 22. Following the line out pressure saw the home side transgress again at the ruck. This allowed Paul MOSS the opportunity to line up what was to prove a match winning kick.

After their poor start this was a resolute performance by TECH during which every member of the squad gave his all making it difficult to single out a man of the match but it was unanimously agreed that the award should go to second row Aaron KEMP who was to the fore throughout in his best performance since joining TECH.

Next week sees the side play their first home league game when Washington are the visitors to John Howard Park.