Whitley Bay Barbarians fought hard to claim a 50-38 win at first division Darlington to put last year’s cup semi-final defeat behind them in a midweek first round cup fixture.
The side was captained by Chris Yeoman and was bolstered by the return of Mark Hall.
Whitley started the game well and took the lead when winger Matthew Padden made a break from halfway and ended up winning a penalty 15 metres from the line. The quick tap was taken and after a few tackles Hall barged his way through to open his account for the season, Gavin Duffy added the extra points for a 6-0 lead.
The hosts levelled the scores before the Babas regained the lead after Ben Dalton fended off numerous tackles to score a converted try.
Wanting to keep the pressure on, Whitley also took the next score with some good hands in the backs before captain Yeoman backed himself to ground the ball, resisting the effort of the defence.
The home side responded by claiming the next two scores with one converted to bring the score back to 16-16.
Steve Lenehan showed his power by scoring the next try with Duffy adding his third conversion of the night to give the away side a six-point cushion at half-time.
Whitley resumed the scoring after the restart with Ben Dalton claiming a hat-trick after getting the next two, with one converted.
Darlington refused to give up and they were rewarded for their efforts by scoring three uninterrupted tries to go ahead of the first time at 34-32.
The teams then traded scores, first a pass out to the corner was received and grounded by Richard Sampson with Duffy kicking the conversion followed by Darlington adding four points to take the score to 38-38.
With the floodlights coming on the game neared its conclusion with the prospect of a ‘golden point’ decision looming.
But the away side had other ideas. New recruit Dave Anderson whose running had caused Darlington problems all game, opened his account by powering over under the posts from close range with the extras successfully added.
Quickly after, the final score of the night was added by James Grant with Duffy kicking the two points to give the visitors a 50-38 win.
Credit went to both sides for a thoroughly entertaining match.
The Barbarians can look back and be proud of their performance particularly the forwards who made excellent yards throughout the game.
Mark Hall was chosen as man of the match by Darlington.