NORTH Shields hosted Prudhoe & Stocksfield Pandas in a competitive and entertaining friendly encounter at Preston Playing Fields.
The team was boosted with the returning half back combination of Tony Hansen and Gary Crombie while in the forwards Chris Allott came in at prop and Dean James made his return to rugby on the bench.
The first half started with pressure from Prudhoe before Steven Thompson scored a try from the first opportunity for the hosts. Prudhoe came back with a dropped goal and then a try to take an early advantage at 5-8. Richard Sampson scored a try that saw the
Artisans re-take the lead, Gary Crombie successful with the conversion. A great run from the half way line by Richard Sampson resulted in a second try for Steven Thompson, Gary Crombie was again successful with the extras to give the Artisans a half-time lead of 19-8.
In the second half the Artisans took a grip on the match with tries for Duncan Steed and a second for Richard Sampson to give them a 29-8 lead. It was starting to look comfortable until Prudhoe hit back with two quick tires and a conversion to close the gap (29-20). The Artisans nerves were relaxed when Bruce Parker went over for a try.
Prudhoe were starting to run out of time but did score a further try before the full time whistle which meant the Artisans had hung on for a 34-27 win, a score line which was a fair reflection of the game.
That win completed a successful day for North Shields RFC with the first team also winning their local derby against Wallsend in the league.
Next week is a big week for the club with country cup quarter-finals taking place. The Crusaders are away to Alnwick Barbarians while the Artisans are at home to Novos Centurions, both matches kick-off at 2pm.