Ashington RFC battle to hard fought win at South Shields
Ashington battled their way to a hard fought victory against a tough South Shields side who dragged their visitors into a forward scrap.
Shields took an early lead with a straight forward penalty in front of the posts when Ash were given offside.
After 12 minutes Moffatt’s lineout take was driven on by the forwards and quick hands by the backs, with the experienced and versatile Stuart Rosser at fly-half, saw fullback Ryan Dodds join the line at speed and cross in the corner for an excellent team try, which Dodds converted.
Shields bounced back and after a short period of pressure, Ash backs, defending too narrowly, were outflanked and the Shields winger crossed in the corner to give the home side an 8-7 lead.
Ash then had a good spell of pressure and when the ball was eventually spun along the backs, winger Josh Weeks flew past his marker to score in the corner.
Another sweeping Ashington move saw Weeks forced into touch after Moffatt and Pritchard had combined well.
South Shields put Ash under real pressure and only an excellent tackle by Tuck prevented a certain try. From the scrum Shields drove over to take a 13-12 half-time lead.
The second half was a scrappy forward battle. Replacement scrum-half Connor Nichol tried to force the pace with some good sniping runs, he was well supported by Johnson who twice drove on strongly.
Moffatt and Anderson dominated the lineout throughout the game, and lineout steals on the opposition throw relieved pressure situations on a number of occasions.
With 12 minutes remaining a quickly taken tap penalty and quick hands saw man of the match Dodds set of on a searing 60-metre run which finished with him touching down under the posts for an excellent individual try, which he converted.
Ash finished the last ten minutes under severe pressure, Menzies covering twice rescued chips ahead, Whitworth, Tuck and Weeks all put in strong tackles and skipper Newman twice carried strongly out of defence.
The game finished with a series of five-metre scrums but the Ash forwards, featuring young prop Ricky Gibson, held on for a deserved 19-13 victory.
Once again Ash got dragged into a forward battle and did not play to their strengths, but this was a battling win, full of determination and effort and one they can take confidence from for the second half of the season.
On Saturday Ashington are at home to North Shields, kick-off 2.15pm.