PRUDHOE and Stocksfield hosted in-form Houghton RFC in Durham and Northumberland Division Three.

But after a strong start and a healthy lead of 21-0 at half time, the home side faltered in the second period and were defeated 33-21.

Playing downhill first half, P&S came out of the blocks forcefully, dominating the breakdown and playing on the front foot.

Rob Reid, starting at number eight, was at the fore, supported well by Alex Fitton and John Robson.

Strong carries from the forwards pushed Houghton back and quick ball was available for Steven Henderson. He carved open the defensive line before drawing the fullback to send Luke Masters in for the first try of the day.

Having scored once, P&S surged downfield again, utilising the quick backs with Matty and Jonny Nevin both providing an attacking outlet out wide.

With the Houghton defence repelling the structured attacks, a clearing kick which missed touch was the key to the second try of the day.

Nevin, under heavy pressure, beat two men with his quick footwork to break free down the left wing.

He fed Danny Whiley, who in turn drew the full back to send Masters in for his second of the day.

Houghton were struggling to get into the hosts’ 22 with the P&S defence looking as strong as it has been all season.

The visitors used a pivot off nine, and plenty of inside runners, but they were nullified by a hardworking P&S defence.

A loose pass was intercepted by Whiley, who charged 65 metres downfield to score the third try of the half.

With a well deserved 21-0 lead, P&S had completed their most impressive half of rugby all season, but things were to change after the break.

The visitors upped their intensity and their front five demanded the ball and took the game to P&S up front. Unfortunately for the home side, the visitors’ constant barraging from forwards took them within a metre of the line, before the sharp scrum half sniped to score their first of the day.

Houghton then brought the game back into the balance with two tries in as many minutes. Firstly, a missed tackle from the kick off saw a scrambled P&S defence struggle to stop the winger from scoring, before a tap penalty move worked its way to their inside centre, who crashed under the posts to reduce the deficit to 21-19.

A shellshocked P&S were dealt another blow when John Robson and Will Foster both picked up injuries and had to leave the field.

This proved catastrophic for the hosts, as the scrum which had been very effective was suddenly being pushed backwards.

From one of these scrums, the P&S pack were pushed back over the try line and the Houghton number nine again showed his awareness to touch down, and give his side a 26-21 lead, which would have been unthinkable at half time.

After eventually getting the ball back, P&S went on the attack looking to steal victory after a disappointing second half.

Impressive runs from both Chris Patterson and Whiley saw P&S camped in their own 22. Forwards then dominated the attacking phases, including Karl Main, making his first appearance of the season after recovering from injury.

The ball was shipped out to Henderson, and his link with Matty Nevin seemed to have opened the defensive line. However, an interception saw Houghton attack the length of the pitch to win the game 33-21.

It was a very disappointing second half after the competent performance in the first period, where P&S showed they can play like the best teams in the league. Man of the match was Robert Reid.

P&S travel to Hartlepool on Saturday in another league encounter.