Big game - disappointing result!
By Derek Reid
Match was better than the light!!
The first League game of 2019 saw the high-flying North Shields visiting Broadway West on a gloomy (weather-wise) Saturday with a 2.15 KO. A strong looking Shields side kicked off and dominated much of the early exchanges, but made no input onto the scoreboard until the 22nd minute. A series of attacks towards the home line ended with a dubious penalty try with the ball seemingly squirting out of the ruck to be touched down by home scrumhalf, John Rooney
, who was also yellow-carded for the same incident. Nevertheless, the visitors were 0-7 up. This certainly stirred up Gosforth, who, in turn, strung together a fine passing movement for fullback, Mathew Struthers
, to power his way over the line. Flyhalf, Mark Anderson
, converted well to level the score at 7-7 on 25 minutes. As half-time approached, Shields retook the lead on 34 minutes through No 6, Richard Carr, who scored close-in for Simon Ayre to convert (7-14). A last extra long (over 50 metres!) penalty attempt from wide out by Mat Struthers just fell short as the half-time whistle went.
With the gloom intensifying, distinguishing between the green versus blue hoops from a distance became more difficult (spare a thought for Derek Reid, our resident photographer!). Referee, Paul Minto, did well keep the game flowing and, ironically, the handling and attacking play improved! Within the first second-half minute Gos were back level thanks again to Mathew Struthers
, who received a pass along the backline inside his own half. Seeing an unoccupied piece of grass behind the Shields defence, he kicked ahead, followed up determinedly, tackled the covering Shields player, dispossessed him and powered over for Mark Anderson
to convert (14-14). This remained the score until the 49th minute, when Shields scored a try after a series of scrum drives, with Simon Ayre converting from out wide (14-21). Back came Gos with centre Adam McGarry
finishing powerfully in the right-hand corner for Ando to just fail to convert (19-21). Then, for the first time in the match, Gos were to take the lead on 20 minutes, as Mark Anderson
danced over by the posts to convert his own try (26-21). This was a fourth bonus point try for the hosts. However, Shields were to score their own on 25 minutes with a similar forwards' converted try (26-28), which was followed on 31 minutes with a further converted try under the posts (26-35) against a trying home defence, who had tackled manfully throughout. [ The failing light made it impossible for your scribe to discern the scorers!] With the clock running down Gos were awarded a long penalty, which Mark Anderson
gratefully converted to give an extra losing bonus point for Gosforth, leaving the final score 29-35 to North Shields.
Final thought - why do we have to stick to the 2.15 KO's at this time of year, when, surely an extra 15/30 minutes of daylight would be a benefit to all concerned?
Next week sees GRFC visiting the other Shields (South), where we'll be hoping to get gack on the winning track.