PRUDHOE and Stocksfield got their new year under way with the visit of Yarm in the Durham and Northumberland League III.

The hard-fought encounter ended in a 17-14 defeat, but there were many positives to be taken from a game dominated by the forwards.

Rob Reid started in the second row, giving John Robson the opportunity to don the number seven shirt.

Playing into the strong wind, P&S carried strongly from the pack with Will Foster, Ryan Chamberlain and John Robson making lots of yards as the opening stages were dominated by the visitors. They worked their way close to the Yarm try line, but a big tackle dislodged the ball enabling the hosts to clear their lines.

Yarm were galvanised and took their opportunity when they got close to the line as their strong forward carriers proved too difficult to stop as they crashed over to take the lead.

P&S responded and man of the match Joe Hughes forced a mistake in midfield to touch down under the posts. Steven Henderson duly converted for a 7-5 lead.

Wintry conditions led to mistakes from both sides, with both packs getting plenty of scrum practice. From a set piece, Yarm’s man of the match and number eight picked and drove close to the line before the recycled ball was eventually moved into enough space to give the hosts a 12-7 half time lead.

P&S lost both Stephen Armstrong and Danny Whiley to the sin bin for infringements, and Yarm took advantage of the numerical advantage by exploiting a blindside overlap to score in the corner for 17-7.

Restored to their full complement for the final 15 minutes, P&S scored the next try. The hard-working Chris Nicholls chased a kick downfield, and the free free ball was scooped up by impressive full back Jonny Nevin to make the game 17-14 after a fantastic touchline conversion by Henderson.

With victory in their sights, P&S received a penalty five metres out. Yannick Debil crashed the ball in, but the referee spotted a sealing-off infringement. P&S host Newton Aycliffe on Saturday.