PRUDHOE & Stocksfield travelled to Newton Aycliffe to take on a side which has made a strong start to the Durham and Northumberland III league season.

They put up a good fight but lost 44-38 in a tight game which could have gone either way.

The visitors only had 15 players available for the trip, with Matty Nevin filling the number six shirt and Jonathon Dodds starting on the left wing.

Aycliffe started the game strongly, targeting the fringes of the breakdown with plenty of pick and go moves. The home side scored first after P&S were penalised, and the winger converted.

Playing with confidence, Aycliffe soon crossed the try line when their impressive 13 evaded several of tackles to score under the posts to make it 8-0.

This seemed to fire P&S up after a slow start. The front row of Ryan Chamberlain, Stephen Armstrong and Will Foster dominated the scrum, allowing Yannick Debil to cross with an easy pick and charge to make it 8-7.

Newton were testing a defence led by Luke Masters and Daniel Whiley, using their 13 in every possible attack. Missed tackles proved costly as the home side scored two near-identical scores to extend their lead to 22-7.

Carries from Foster, named man of the match by his teammates, and Rob Reid set the tone for an aggressive period of the first half, ending with Chris Patterson stretching over for a seven point try.

Patterson and Debil, Aycliffe’s choice for P&S man of the match, combined early in the second half, with Steven Henderson carrying further before Whiley took the ball over the line to make it 22-21.

The home side’s big second row was carrying well, taking at least two defenders to bring him down. This created lots of space, their number 11 capitalised to dance inside and score.

Strong carriers saw Aycliffe camped on the 22 line, before the number 10 put a wonderful dinked kick over the top, with the number 13 taking a diving catch to get the score with a moment of brilliance.

P&S fought back, and a mazy run from Masters saw the visitors move 50 metres upfield. Debil took the final pass of a great team try.

Looking dangerous on the attack, P&S were awarded a penalty 10 metres from the try line. With the defence focused on a pod containing Foster, Yannick and Reid, the ball was spun in the opposite direction, catching the Aycliffe defence cold. Chamberlain showed great composure to send Matty Nevin over for try number five.

In the final five minutes, as P&S made a charge for victory, Newton’s 13 turned the ball over on halfway and won the foot race to touchdown. The conversion was superb, making it 41-34 before a converted penalty, which saw Patterson Yellow carded, gave Newton Aycliffe a 44-34 lead and victory.

Jonny Nevin managed to throw a dummy and cross the line, giving P&S two losing bonus points.