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Home > News > Sheffield Tigers 0 - Westoe 8
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Your News Sheffield Tigers 0 - Westoe 8
02
MAR

THIS wasn’t pretty and certainly not for the faint hearted.

It was a bone crunching, muscle-jarring battle of attrition between bloody-minded packs and defences at the top of their game. Think irresistible force and immovable object and you will get the picture.

With the pitch on plateau 900 feet high and buffeted by a strong, swirling wind, the situation was hardly conducive to open play or the niceties of the game. And so, like rutting stags, the forwards put their heads down and got stuck in.

Westoe’s pack is arguably the strongest and most street-wise in North One and while overall it controlled matters and frequently laid siege on the on the Tigers’ goal line, it was not until five minutes before the end

that a breakthrough came.

Until then, all the Beacon Electrical (NE) Ltd-sponsored Shieldsmen had to show for their endeavours were three points from a Sam Rasch penalty just after half time.

When the final whistle did sound, both teams knew they had been in a real contest in which for sheer stamina, guts and tenacity you could not separate them.

It meant that Gareth Nesbit’s men have won all six league games since the turn of the year, while it was only the second time that Sheffield had been beaten on their own scenic ground just outside the city on the edge of the Peak District.

But sadly for third-top Westoe, leaders Kendal and second placed Huddersfield also continued their winning ways and so, with just four games remaining, the already outside chance of promotion receded still further.

With the wind blasting diagonally into their faces, the Shieldsmen spent almost all the first quarter in their own half although the Tigers never really looked like breaching a stern defence and several times their line out ball in threatening situations was stolen or spoiled by towering locks Matthew Muchall and Paul Bird.

Gradually, the visitors took charge and seemed certain to score as they battered the home goal line with drives and rolling mauls but the only time they managed to get across they were unable to ground the ball.

They would, nevertheless, have been pleased to reach the interval on level terms, and when they resumed with the significant wind advantage and went straight back into the attack their faithful band of travelling supporters were quietly confident the floodgates would open.

But though fly half Rasch put his side ahead with a penalty in the 43rd minute, this just didn’t happen as the Tigers defended tooth and nail and for one spell midway through the half had Westoe rocking back on their heels.

Then, as time ebbed away, yet another drive at last ended in success when James Fitzpatrick, playing for the first time as blind side flanker in place of the absent Jonathon Okwe-Pearson, burst over beside the right corner flag.

Afterwards Nesbit said: “It might not have been good to watch, but this was a very hard game and a big mental as well as physical test.

“I’m not surprised Sheffield have been so hard to beat on their own ground and it took a really tremendous all round team effort on our part to win. Fitz was drafted into the pack as a ball carrier and I thought he had a quite phenomenal game.”

*The Thirds, 12-5 down after ten minutes, came storming back in style with a 12-try rampage to sink Mowden Park by 70-12 in their Durham Cup semi final at Wood Terrace.

Winger Paul Hagan touched down three times and kicked five conversions while number 8 Graham Aldus, lock Steve Frewer and centres David Fairlamb and Peter Atherton each scored two tries apiece and Johnny Thompson came on as replacement full back to complete the tally.

*The Vic Young-sponsored Fourths, who remarkably have won the Durham Fourth Teams Shield for the last six seasons, are back in the final once after winning 32-10 at Seaton Carew. They will play Blaydon, who beat Gateshead, in the final.

They started sluggishly and conceded an early try, but then Derek Tighe’s men clicked into gear and took control, tries being scored by flanker Andrew Kirton (two), fly half Richard Elliott, scrum half Sean Ramsey, and replacement wingers Graham Coleman and Steve Temple with Rob Scorer kicking a conversion.

*The Colts made it an all-win afternoon for the club with a spirited display to beat Wigan 42-0 in an Under-18 League match at Oakleigh Gardens.. Fly half Daniel Whitelaw touched down twice and kicked a conversion, while other tries were scored by winger Adam Thompson (two), centre Nick Sharp, prop Graeme McManus and flankers Clayton Fox and Jack Pascoe.

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