South Shields Westoe took another positive step in the tight battle for DN1 promotion on Wednesday evening with a 31-19 victory over Gateshead.
Westoe entertained Gateshead at Wood Terrace for one of the many catch-up games postponed due to the weather.
Availability issues saw a reshuffled pack, with Liam Jackson and Adam Sneller being drafted in for Andrew Kirton and Anthony Rumis, while Richard Burrows came on to the wing and Joe MacKenzie moved into centre midfield.
Looking in control from the off, Westoe made some strong forward drives, unfortunately, small errors and knock-ons halted any real attacking chances.
The first score came after 16 minutes following a Gateshead penalty. Westoe kicked for touch and a clean take at the line-out was driven over the line for Raymie Elliott to touch down out wide.
The Westoe curse struck almost immediately after the restart as scrappy play allowed Gateshead score.
With Gateshead buoyant, they attacked again, however, a good read by Richard Burrows saw him intercept the ball, offloading to Luke Moffett who then scored to extend their lead.
Try number three came minutes later when Westoe’s back-line passed the ball wide for Moffett to score his second.
Minutes into the second half, Gateshead closed the gap when Arthur touched down.
However, Westoe replied immediately when the ball found its way to Derek Worthington, who crashed over the line, securing the bonus point in the process.
Westoe continued to push forward, but were met by some brave defending by a Gateshead side who never give up.
Moffett then found the perfect line to cross for his hat-trick and Westoe’s fifth of the day.
The visitors had the last shout when fast hands along the line, and some good support play, gave them the last try of the match as the game ended in a 31-19 victory for Westoe.
A Barnard Castle victory against lead leaders Durham and a convincing win for Consett against Horden means that there’s no change in the top four and the tight run-in continues.
Westoe go again tomorrow when they travel to lowly Gosforth, whilst Barnard Castle face Consett.
All Westoe can do now is to win their last three games and await the results around them. Still with a good chance of finishing second and gaining the promotion play-off spot the season promises to be a tight exiting finale.
The Westoe Development side are also in action this weekend in the final of the CANDY league cup.
Current holders Westoe travel to Darlington Mowden Park for a 3pm kick-off.