AFTER securing promotion last week, North Shields RFC travelled to Sedgefield looking to close the gap on league leaders Whitby.
From the kick-off the home side failed to secure the ball, resulting in an early penalty to Shields.
However, Shields were unable to take the three points from the kick – and this set the tone for the opening 20 minutes as the visitors were slow to get going.
The home side dominated possession early on and were able to build phases through a big pack of forwards that carried well.
The Sedgefield fly-half was able to break the line in Shields territory and off-loaded well to a support runner who scored underneath the posts.
This early shock awakened Shields slightly and they began to grow in confidence.
Sedgefield greatly assisted matters by losing much of their own lineout ball, and in particular Carl Cramman and the Shields pack dominated the scrum.
However, consistent offending and ill discipline on countless occasions allowed Sedgefield to continually clear their lines.
Fortunately a good back row move led by man of the match Oliver Randall saw Shields storm deep into Sedgefield territory. Dean Harrison supported well and fed Ben Dalton who off-loaded superbly to allow Ryan Ramsey to cross for Shields’ opening score.
This galvanised Shields and from the restart they went through several phases, marching straight back into the opposition half.
The ball was set wide to Harrison who held his man and popped superbly to the darting Ricky Handa, who ran a great inside line to cross for the second try.
Unfortunately Shields were unable to build on this momentum and Sedgefield worked their way back into the game and scored before half-time to make the score 19-14.
The second half was a similar close affair.
Ramsey scored his second try and Shields only secured victory after a typically solid maul resulted in Gav Irving crossing. Gary Crombie slotted a late penalty to make the final score 35-14.
This weekend Shields are back to cup action in the quarter-finals of the Junior Vase Cup.
West Park Warriors are the visitors to Preston Playing Fields for what promises to be a fantastic match given the winner will stand just one game from securing a final spot at Twickenham.