Whitley Bay Barbarians started the new season with a repeat of the 2014 Grand Final when they travelled to Gateshead Storm A.
The first points belonged to the visitors when Kyle Wharton, who captained the side in David Sears’ absence, made good metres with defenders hanging on before stretching out to ground the ball.
From the resulting kick-off, a mix-up for Whitley led to a Storm scrum which saw the home side go over from the set-piece to make the score 4-4 with the conversion missed.
The Babas responded by regaining the lead. After the forwards set up a platform for the backs to attack, full-back Gavin Duffy put centre Ben Dalton in down the left hand channel who, after stepping a couple of Storm defenders, played the pass back inside to Duffy who crossed the line. He converted his own try to make the score 10-4 in Bay’s favour.
Keen to keep the pressure on, the Babas added to their lead after some quick reactions from Adam Eglin. On a fifth and last tackle, Gary Redshaw sent through a grubber kick that hit a Storm player and was quickly picked up and grounded by Eglin with Duffy again adding the extra two points for 16-4.
The game was a physical encounter with both sides not letting up from the early hard hitting in the tackles.
Whitley knew the contest was never going to be a easy and that Storm would not let up. And the home side’s persistence paid off. Starting in their own half, Storm worked their way up the field to score to the right hand side of the posts with the extra points added to pull them within six.
The last score of the half went to the visitors. After some good running down the left hand side by Ben Dalton and Matthew Padden, Steve Lenehan crashed over from short range with Duffy converting to give Whitley Bay Barbarians a 22-10 interval lead.
Whitley picked up where they left off by scoring the first points of the second period with winger James Grant picking up a Duffy kick to go over the in the corner.
Jonny Dubois was next the get on the score sheet, going over to the right of the posts after breaking through the opposition defence with Duffy adding the extras for 32-10.
From the next kick off the Babas took a few tackles in the count before Dalton made a break from his own half to score under the posts, again Duffy added the conversion.
The home side did manage to grab the final score of the game, going over in the corner after a good chase from a chip kick into the goal area to make the final score 38-14 to Whitley Bay.
Overall the Barbarians can be happy with their performance, coming out of a hard physical encounter with a well-earned win on the back of a solid team performance.
Credit went to Storm, who never gave up throughout.
Whitley are in action twice in the coming week. After a midweek trip to Darlington on Wednesday they travel to Wallsend Eagles A on Saturday, May 9.