Mariners take revenge for defeat in play-offs

Driffield RUFC 3rds v Bridlington Mariners
Driffield RUFC 3rds v Bridlington Mariners

Bridlington Mariners travelled the short distance to arch rivals Driffield Cents - a place that was not a happy hunting ground last season as the Mariners lost in both the league and the semi-final of the play-offs and so it was satisfying to exact some revenge.

The Mariners were in control of the game for large periods and never looked like losing. The first quarter belong to the visitors as they gradually exerted some control over the home side and deservedly took the lead through back row Gary Heeley.

This came on the back of some great work in the forwards and Heeley did well to take his chance. Thankfully stand off Taylah Muru-King had packed his kicking boots and made a routine conversion attempt.

In the second quarter the home side started to use the wind behind them to gain good field position, kicking the ball into good areas and the home side’s pack started to run the ball at the Brid defence with more purpose.

Twice the Mariners gave away easily kickable penalties as they tried to stem the side and the Driffield stand off, who had broken the Mariners hearts with a late penalty in last year’s semi -final, reduced the arrears to one point.

During the half time team talk the Mariners felt that if they could maintain their good work in the set piece and improve their defence they should be able to win the game. The home side went for broke bring on all seven substitutes clearly intent on upping the ante.

It was the Mariners however who took control of the game, starting with an excellent try from Gary Heeley.

Captain Tom Brown picked up from the base of a scrum and half-broke the first tackle but managed to offload the ball to Heeley. He stepped a couple of would-be tacklers and then beat the full back who offered him the outside and Heeley gladly accepted to dive over in the corner.

The Mariners were having their best spell of the game mainly through the excellent work of the pack and it was they who came up with the next score.

Having moved the ball deep into the home side’s half through good work in the line outs and some great rolling mauls, they created a chance for substitute Dan Stanley who capped an excellent debut with a try in the corner.

Muru-King was just wide with his conversion attempt but the Mariners lead 19-6.

This seemed to sting the home side into action as the Mariners lost their way a little. Firstly, the Cents kicked a penalty and they added a try to bring them right back into the game at 19-14.

Earlier in the season the Mariners might have panicked and indeed had lost games like this having developed a healthy lead but recently there has been more steel and determination in the side,

They regained control of the game by firstly moving the ball in front of the Cents post and the referee awarded an easily kickable penalty and Muru-King obliged.

Then came the try of the match. The Mariners had a scrum well into their own half. Scrum half Ben Wollerton took a pass from Brown, committed a tackler and fed full back Michael Nugent running a great line.

However, he had a long way to go to get to the try line and many would-be tacklers in front of him but he set of on a mazy run that took him up the right touchline then inside and final over at the corner on the far left hand side.

Muru-King hit an excellent conversion to secure the win.

The home side to their credit continued to work hard and gained a consolation try in the final 10 minutes but the Mariners were not denied the well deserved win.

There were a number of excellent diplays by the Mariners. In the pack front row Matty Faulkner, Dan Palmer and Jayson Stephenson dominated in the set piece and work hard in the loose.

Second row Mark Shackley carried well and came up with a couple of trademark crunching tackles and the back row of Jack Bell, Gary Heeley and Tom Brown worked well.

Man of the match went to full back Michael Nugent.