South Shields Westoe RFC achieved their first victory of this new season with a thriller of a game against Northern.
Benfield-sponsored Westoe ran out 37-23 winners in what proved to be a combative encounter.
Northern scored the first points on three minutes with a well-taken penalty with Westoe coming in offside in a ruck; with a prompt reply by Westoe’s fly half with a drop goal after some good work by their forwards.
Up to the 20 minute mark it was an even contest in open play, but the Westoe forwards had the edge in the scrums with some good turn overs. Northern kept up the pressure with a further two penalties after more Westoe ill-discipline which put Northern firmly in the lead.
Both sides then scored good tries of their in what was a fast game, Northern finishing the first half well ahead.
The second half started with a revitalised Westoe team with Luke Johnson coming into the No 8 position and making an impact with some meaty tackles.
Westoe’s forwards began clearly dominating in both srums and lineouts, with Northern on the back foot.
Johnson was yellow carded for killing the ball in a ruck, which seemed to spark Westoe into action with them scoring two unanswered tries through forwards John Younghusband and John Irving.
A further try by Irving later in the half seemed to have put the result in no doubt with Westoe dominating proceedings with some ferocious defence.
Together with a drop goal by Luke Moffat and conversions and a penalty by Louis Hagan, Northern efforts all seemed to be in vain; yet on the 79th minute they were awarded a penalty try for an early tackle followed by a conversion.
However, that was closely followed by the referee’s whistle to end what was real tussle.
Westoe chairman Ian Etchells was delighted with his side’s win, and believes it will help their new, young side kick-start their campaign.
He said: “I challenged the coaches that this game needed to be a victory and that no other option was acceptable, and both the coaching team and players all stepped up and delivered.
“This young team have now experienced what is required to win in this league and have set the benchmark for the rest of the season.”