MATCH REPORT – Newcastle Thunder 30 – 22 Whitehaven RLFC

Newcastle Thunder made it two wins in a row in Betfred League 1 on Sunday afternoon with a solid 30-22 win over West Cumbrian rivals Whitehaven RLFC at Kingston Park Stadium.

The Tynesider’s continued revival continued to gather pace with an impressive performance in attack and defence, even though small lapses towards the end of the game gave the scoreline a closer appearance than the game truly was.

It was a dream first forty for Thunder with the hosts gaining the upper hand following a fairly even opening 10 minutes.

With both teams having have made plenty of yards in attack without finding the break needed to score, Rhys Clarke was the player to get Thunder of the mark as he picked an intelligent line to break through the Whitehaven defence and cross for a nicely constructed try.

If that was an effective way to get the scoreboard ticking, the next three minutes later was one for the end of season highlights reel. Started by a superb break from Vincent Rennie, with the Cook Island international riding out of a tackle, Thunder’s midfield ensured that break was converted into front foot ball and with a broken Whitehaven defence out wide, a superb floated pass out to winger Tuoyo Egodo saw Thunder double their lead.

 Following that quick-fire brace, things settled down as the visitors regained their composure and while there were no more scores until past the half hour, Thunder were still enjoying the better of the game, with some solid attacking sets and resolute defensive displays keeping the visitors at bay.

When a loose ball presented itself in the shadow of the visitors’ posts, centre Lewis Young was aware of the opportunity. Quickly getting possession back for his side, he then played in team-mate Ben Dent with a simple pass, with the winger making sure that quick-fire chance was exploited.

Young used us natural pace to great effect three minutes later as he chased down a clever kick, regathered the ball under pressure from the Whitehaven defence before bursting clear to take Thunder to a 20-0 win.

It wasn’t a faultless half, and a soft try conceded on the cusp of half-time was a disappointing way to end a very solid half, but the hosts had laid some sturdy foundations on which to press on in the second forty.  

Whitehaven chipped away at those as they took the opening score of the second half with some miscommunication in the Thunder line opening the gap for Carl Forster shortly after the break before another purple patch allowed Thunder to stretch their advantage.

Going from under their posts to scoring at the opposite end as the whole team combined to move the ball around and forward for Egodo to grab his second before Young bagged his brace as he again combined well with Adam Brook to make the most of a superb kick through from his half-back.

Despite determined efforts from the visitors to get back into the contest, Thunder managed to keep the Whitehaven at bay and when an opportunity to add two points via a straightforward penalty was presented with 10 minutes to go, it was gratefully taken.

Though two tries in the closing moments gave Whitehaven hope and Thunder cause for concern, eight points remained the difference and allowed the hosts to enjoy a well-deserved triumph.

Newcastle Thunder

Theerapol Ritson, Mo Agoro, Tuoyo Egodo (DR), Lewis Young, Ben Dent, Adam Brook, Remy Marginet, Liam McAvoy, Ben Pointer, Vincent Rennie, Rhys Clarke, Aaron Ollett, Harry Aldous, Frazer Morris (DR). Conor Fitzsimmons, Ben Calland, Curtis Davies (DR)

Try Scorers – Clarke (7), Egodo (10, 50), Dent (32), Young (35, 52) 

Goal Scorers – Marginet 2/5, Brook 1/2

Whitehaven RLFC

Daniel Abram, David Thompson, Chris Taylor, Jason Mossop, Jordan Burns, Dion Aiye, Callum Phillips, Marc Shackley, James Tilley, Carl Forster, Ellis Graham, Liam Cooper, Stuart Howarth, Kris Coward, Josh Eaves, Connor Holliday, Jesse Joe Nandye

Try Scorers: Cooper (39), Forster (46), Eaves (80+), Burns (80+)

Goal Scorer: Abram 3/4

Attendance – 759