AN INNOCUOUS penalty with three minutes to go proved the turning point as Seaham earned a slender victory over Prudhoe and Stocksfield.

Trailing by six points, Seaham were awarded the penalty on the halfway line but the ball wasn't returned to them, instead it was kicked away.

Referee Rebecca Rees, one of the growing number of women referees in Northumberland, moved the penalty forward 10 metres as a result, benefiting the visitors even further.

And, as the home players looked around bemused with the decision, Seaham took the opportunity to crash over the try line to set up a straight forward conversion, the successful kick seeing them leave Stocksfield with the 17-16 victory.

The two teams have historically been well matched, and the one point difference proved it is still the case.

It was cut and thrust in the early exchanges with the first opportunity not coming until the 23rd minute, when Steven Henderson made no mistake with a penalty to secure Prudhoe three points.

The visitors kicked off and sought to keep the ball downfield, ensuring the hosts needing to be alert in defence.

Initially, a drive and powerful scrum was thwarted, but Seaham continued to probe and some quick hands and a three metre burst took them over for their opening converted try of the day.

With a couple of minutes left of the first half, Prudhoe and Stocksfield were back ahead.

Alex Crozier, starting his first game at number eight in the absence of Carl Ferguson, took a ball at the tail of a line-out and charged at the line, leaving a trail behind him before crossing to see the home side a point ahead.

While Henderson's kicking from hand had been spot on all afternoon, the second half started with the kick off nowt going the required 10 metres and Seaham had the home side camped in their own half.

For Prudhoe, Jerry Robinson seemed to be constantly be in the midst of things, while Ryan Chamberlain made a number of short bursts to gain some yards for his team.

After quarter-of-an-hour, P&S found themselves deep in the Seaham half and, from a five metre scrum, Crozier sneaked over for his second try of the game.

The same man was impressing in the tackle too, making a crushing challenge on his opponent within his own 22 soon after to halt a Seaham attack.

The game started to drift into a low-key affair until the dying moments when the match deciding penalty was awarded in Seaham's favour.

A collection of items for the West Northumberland Food Bank was held following the game, and a further collection will be held at the next home game with Seghill on December 16.

After a Saturday off this coming weekend, they return to action with a trip to Jarrovians on December 9.