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Home > News > Billingham 10 - Stockton 9
Your News Billingham 10 - Stockton 9

BILLINGHAM: C. Shepherd, P. Shepherd, A. Hyndman, C. Hyndman, M. Evans, J. Evans, Woodhouse, Danny Robinson, Amos, Liddle, Dalton, Wildridge, Hutchinson, Dave Robinson, Dixon. Reps: P. Evans, Tennant, Youdale.

STOCKTON: Jeffery, R. Brown, Crozier, P. Armstrong, Murphy, Good, Jenkins, Willis, Muirhead, S. Brown, Skirving, Austin, W. Brown, Parkinson, Powell. Reps: Foulkes, Etherington, M. Brown.

REFEREE: Mr. Ray Sutherland (Durham Society)

BILLINGHAM were celebrating this afternoon after a narrow derby win secured their promotion.

Having lost only two games during the whole season, the win gave Billingham thumbs up to promotion - anything else would have led to a mugging by second-placed Northern.

Prompted by the largest crowd seen at Greenwood Road for years and in the presence of Jack Smith, their injured colt, Billingham were on the receiving end of Stocktons kick-off.

For once, the elements were being pretty kind with just a cold wind sweeping across the pitch towards the club.

Both teams immediately put the crowd on notice that this was going to be an interesting one, although early pressure came from Stockton with the Billingham defence having to work hard.

Billingham gave away a penalty on the 22 to the right of the posts and Stocktons JEREMY GOOD pushed his team into a three point lead with just seven minutes gone.

Time after time Billingham were trying to punch their way through the centre but Stockton were up to their game using spoiling tactics.

Billinghams Joe Evans had a pop at goal with 20 minutes gone - it was near but not good enough. Billingham were certainly not having their way with this one and Stockton took play back downfield and camped in the home 22 for quite a while.

An injury to their prop Brown slowed things down for a while and on the restart, Stockton got dangerously close to crossing.

With 30 minutes gone Stockton put in a rolling maul and it looked dangerous for Billingham. But the visitors knocked on and their opportunity disappeared.

Stocktons line-out work was good with Austin jumping well, allowing his forwards to get into gear.

In fact, with 30 minutes gone it was Stockton dictating the agenda and even more so when Billingham transgressed on their 22 and again GOOD was deadly accurate with his kick.

With just minutes of the half left, Billinghams Chris Hyndman attempted to punch his way through the centre to get some points on the board but Stockton were having none of it and completely blocked him out.

Half-time: Billingham 0, Stockton 6.

Ex-Billingham player Shaun Willis was completely demolished attempting to field the ball on the restart. This brought about the largest cheer of the game from the large home crowd but it got better as Billingham upped the pace.

A penalty went to Billingham just five metres off the line. Billingham took it short and STEVE HUTCHINSON crashed over. Joe Evans missed the conversion.

Stockton continued to frustrate, though, with the legendary Billingham pace machine failing to kick in.

But then at last came a bit of Billingham on the run. It was a left wing excursion but Stocktons full-back Jeffery had things covered and saved the score.

Then Billingham started playing Stockton tactics with a rolling maul but the referee awarded a knock-on against them and impetus was lost.

Billinghams Dixon was yellow carded for pulling down a maul and suddenly Billingham were not just a point down but a man down as well.

GOOD had another pop at goal and as usual was successful pushing the visitors back into a four point lead.

Billingham were fast back downfield and this time it was Stockton under immense pressure. Antony Hyndman thought he was through and over but the referee whistled for a forward pass.

It was becoming a nailbiter for the would-be champions. They were trying everything they knew but something was simply not clicking in.

But then, at last, the try Billingham were looking for came - the ball went wide cross field and PAUL SHEPHERD made it over in the corner.

Billingham kept up the pressure but the Stockton defence and tackling was excellent.

There were times when the Billingham backs had made mincemeat of other defences during the season but not today.

But then came the final whistle and Billingham had done it after all. It was a real derby and Stockton deserved plaudits for all their hard work during the afternoon.

There is now a summer to build after a Durham cup final and Billingham will need to take things back to the drawing board to ensure that they start life in North East Two with a flourish

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