MATCH REPORT – Siddal ARLFC 10 – 30 Newcastle Thunder

Newcastle Thunder are into the fifth round of the Coral Challenge Cup for the first time since 2009 after a solid display gave them a 30-10 win over amateur side Siddal on Saturday afternoon.

It was far from a pretty performance but in tough conditions for a second week in a row, Thunder have shown they are a team able to retain their composure at crucial junctures to secure wins.

Returning to the scene of an ignominious cup exit back in 2016, when the National Conference side thumped Newcastle 30 – 4, Thunder were first to score after 11 minutes through young academy product Alex Clegg.

One of Thunder’s top try scorers in 2019, the winger was on hand to take a neat offload as Thunder attacked at pace and dived in at the corner to settle his side into the tie, with Reece Dean’s conversion making it a six-nil lead.

Playing up-hill in the first half Thunder kept asking questions of Siddal’s defence, but mistakes and penalties were allowing the hosts to peg Newcastle back and eventually level the scores with 20 minutes played.

Ten minutes later the hosts were in front as they were able to ground the ball as a three-man effort from Thunder took the player to the turf, but it was no portent of things to come as Newcastle seized control of the tie in the dying embers of the half.

It was a quick-fire brace of converted tries from young hooker Sam Blake that sent them into the break with an eight point lead as he first sold his markers a superb dummy from a play the ball on the Siddal try line, before he ran a superb support line to finish off the midfield break of Quentin Laulu Togaga’e.

Thunder extended their advantage to 12 points five minutes into the second half through Scotland international Sam Luckley as they pounced on a loose ball to force a turnover, before the North Shieldsman broke the line 30m out.

Whilst is gave them a cushion Thunder had to work hard to preserve their lead as Siddal worked hard to get back into the game, but unlike four years ago, the Thunder defence held firm, looking disciplined throughout.

With Siddal an interchange down after making a change to their announced 21-man squad before kick-off, Thunder were able to make the most of their fitness and their hosts tiring legs in the closing minutes with two late tries to make sure of the game.

First to cross was forward Mikey Wood as Thunder made the most of a penalty after a Joe Brown run broke the Siddal line, before the club stalwart himself dove over in acrobatic style in the final minute.

Thunder will learn their round five opponents on Monday evening when the draw takes place in Hull.     

Newcastle Thunder

Alex Donaghy, Joe Brown, Kieran Gill, Ashley Gibson, Alex Clegg, Quentin Laulu Togaga’e, Reece Dean, Brenden Santi, Sam Blake, Mikey Wood, Adam Lawton, Colton Roche, Evan Simons, Jed Charlton, Sam Luckley, Kieran Hudson, Harry Aldous

Tries: Clegg (11) Blake (39, 40) Luckley (45) Wood (76) Brown (80)

Goals: Dean 3/3