Thunder U16’s 30 – 28 Cumbria

Newcastle Thunder’s Under 16s scholarship side made a winning start to their 2017 fixtures on Sunday, with a well earned 30-28 win over their counterparts from Cumbria.

The first of six fixtures to take place between January and April, the match saw the young Thunder-men show plenty of resolve in a see-saw game to secure the result in front of a crowd of 300.

Getting off to a bright start in the early stages, Thunder’s new cohort of youngsters scored a well worked try with half back Fergus Simpson setting up Isaac Nokes with a nice short side play.

The missed conversion allowed Cumbria to assume the lead as they responded with a try from Jack Kellet under the posts, but it was a short-lived advantage as Thunder turned a well worked short side play into another four points, with Alex Donaghy putting the score on a plate for Dean Carling.

With both teams now settling into the game and trading sets, it took another ten minutes before Thunder scored their third try of the day, as hooker Adam Hay took a quick tap and dive over the line from close range.

Thunder looked to be in control, but after a couple of back to back penalties allowed Cumbria to march up the field, the visitors were to within just two points after Aaron Turnbull scored a simple try under the posts.

Donaghy added his name to the try tally as the half drew to a close, scoring out wide and nailing the conversion and allowing Thunder to assume a 20-12 lead at the half time interval.

An error from Thunder early in the second half allowed Turnbull to get his second try for Cumbria and shift momentum the way of the visitors. It was a well-taken score with an accurate cross field kick allowing the winger to finish well in the corner

With the momentum shifted firmly with the visitors it was a cross field kick setting up setting up the Cumbrian winger with a lovely finish in the corner to bring the visitors right back into the game, now only trailing 24-22.

Despite Cumbria gaining an ascendency, Newcastle weathered the storm well, before some tidy play led to Ewan Goodridge to be played in for a well-worked try that Donaghy again converted well to put the home side into a 30-22 lead.

With some sold collisions from the Thunder pack and in particular captain Tyler Walton, the hosts were able to maintain pressure on Cumbria, though the visitors would have the final say of the match.

A smart finish on the wing made it a two-point ball game for the closing stages, but one that Thunder closed out impressively.

Up next a home game against Salford Red Devils on Sunday 5th Feb with an 11:30 ko as part of Joe Browns Testimonial day.