South Shields Westoe stun league leaders Northern
South Shields Westoe claimed a hard-earned 38-28 victory over league leaders Northern in a match that was not for the faint hearted.
In a match that at times more resembled its seven-a-side format, Northern started quickly with some intense pressure and attacking flair.
The Northern pack took a well-drilled line-out close to Westoe’s line and a back-peel saw their No7 cross the line to take a seven point lead.
Almost from the restart, Dom Connolly showed the first of his many powerful drives, taking the ball into North’s 22, and following some deft handling from Mak Reeder, Luke Moffett crossed the line to even the scores.
North’s well drilled line-out struck again after 22 minutes when the ball spun through their backs’ hands for their 15 to score their second.
Things started to look dangerous for Westoe when a loose line-out was intercepted by North’s hooker, who eased his way through five Westoe defenders, taking the score to 21-7.
Pushing their opponents with ease, scrum-half Judson fed Jake Arnold, who ghosted his way through a league of defenders for a delightful solo effort, taking the score at half-time to 21-14 and the promise of a scintillating second half.
Down a man, due to a yellow-card for Judson, Westoe showed great intent for the off and where many sides would be content with seeing out the 10 minutes, they started with fine attacking form.
Several punishing drives from Connolly and Younghusband, saw Westoe march down the pitch.
With the defence sucked in, Michael Potts fed Moffett, who took the ball towards the line, finally feeding James Sant who crashed through the defence.
Another break from Arnold, set up some deft interplay between the packs, ending in an offload from debut winger Dominic Howe.
The ball was then gathered by Moffett who surged over the line for Westoe to take the lead for the first time.
With 20 minutes remaining, North came back to retake the lead with their No15 breaking down the wing to set up a grand finale to what had been a truly entertaining from the first whistle.
Chasing a two point deficit, Westoe attacked from everywhere.
Some fast and furious play saw North’s defence holding firm and thwarting wave after wave of attacking play.
With the clock ticking down, it looked like it may be over, but following some great handling, Potts drew in three defenders to offload to the rampaging Arnold, who crossed the line to take the score to 28-33.
Neither side were ready to give up at this point, with North firing a last gasp attack against the young Westoe team.
Turning the ball over in their own half, Westoe put the cherry on the cake with a final attack in stoppage time with another show of inter-passing, with Mak Reeder giving the final pass to Joe McKenzie, who touched down to secure the win and denying Northern a losing bonus point in a well matched and brutal match.
Westoe now find themselves well within the mix and will be looking at a quick return to North One after this latest performance.