Bridlington RUFC 20
Stockton RUFC 7
Northern Division Intermediate Cup Pool Two
WHILE England were starting their Six Nations campaign, Bridlington took on Stockton on a cold and very windy day, with intermittent hail falling as the teams went through their warm up drills.
There was a smaller crowd than normal, probably due to the start of the international programme on TV.
Those that braved the weather, were indeed treated to good performances by both teams, which saw Bridlington emerge victorious in the first leg.
And they will look to repeat the result at the away fixture on February 23, with the aggregate winners of the tie progressing to the next stage of the competition.
Stockton kicked off the match, and enjoyed a spell of attacking play putting phases together and moving out of their own half.
But their progress halted when they gave away a penalty on halfway as they held on in the tackle.
The following lineout gave possession back to Bridlington as Stockton knocked on, but it was a couple of phases before Stevie Mellonby was able to bounce a kick into touch for a five metre lineout.
However, Stockton played well from the lineout, catching and driving out, then picking up creating a driving maul.
The standoff chipped the defence, but Mellonby caught this and started an attack. After quick hands by the backs, a break through the defence by Ryan Girking, led to AJ Burrows scoring a try, which was converted by Mellonby.
A poor restart by Stockton against the wind, didn’t go 10 metres, but from the following scrum Stockton were awarded a penalty.
They did not find touch with the kick, allowing Girking to run out, linking with the forwards from his 22.
An exchange of kicks led to Stockton kicking the ball out for a lineout on their 22.
Bridlington defended well from the lineout, but were penalised for offside.
Stockton continued to progress up field, until they were forced into touch 15 metres from the Bridlington line.
The visitors caught and set up a driving maul, winning a penalty five metres out. They pounded the Bridlington line time and again, until the stand-off was able to cross for a converted try to the left of the posts.
Stockton again mounted an attack from the restart, but great defence by Bridlington turned the ball over as they forced Stockton backwards.
A pick and drive by Ezra Luxton, was stopped 15 metres short of the line, then a long pass by Jamie Muru to Burrows saw him stopped five metres short.
With Gary Heeley winning a lineout, Bridlington were again on the attack, after a couple of phases and they were rewarded with a penalty just outside the 22, which Mellonby kicked successfully at goal.
Bridlington were quickly defending their line from the restart, following an uncharacteristic sliced kick to touch by Muru.
Stockton attacked wave upon wave, but were undone as the number eight spilled the ball forward in a tackle, giving Bridlington a scrum on their five metre line.
A free kick was awarded to Stockton as the scrum collapsed, then a series of penalties, which they opted for a scrum each time.
With a scrum won against the head, Bridlington were able to clear their line through Regan Stirk.
Stockton were again camped out on Bridlington’s 22, but an interception by Luxton thwarted them, although he put a foot in touch as he drove down the blindside, dump tackled as he went.
Stockton caught and drove from the lineout then pushed a rolling maul at the Bridlington defence, to within five metres of the line.
Luxton dived on the ball and was penalised for not releasing. Again Stockton opted for the scrum, but this time were driven backwards by a determined Bridlington pack, then into touch for a lineout seven metres out. The away side attacked again, but this time the ball was turned over for Muru to kick long up field, chased well by Girking and Kerr.
Sizwe Zondo was close at hand and he picked up the loose ball, for Muru to kick cross field in goal, and Burrows chased and dived on it for another Bridlington try.
For the rest of the first half Bridlington continued to pound the Stockton defences, but couldn’t add to their tally despite two attempts to increase their score from penalty kicks.
Possession went back and forth at the start of the second half until Regan Stirk made a good diagonal run through the forwards past many missed tackle attempts, only to be faced with the full back and right wing, standing on the 22 waiting for him.
Running straight at the gap between them, he managed to elude both of them to score a try out wide by the corner flag.
Both teams tried in vain for the rest of the match to turn possession into points, and the final whistle was welcomed by both teams as both were beginning to tire.
Club sponsors: North Bay Caravan Park and Hudson Contract Services
On Saturday Bridlington are at home against Huddersfield YMCA For pre match meals contact the club on 676405