Westoe's Bedworth blow

First published in North-East Rugby News The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by

A SERIOUS knee injury suffered by player-coach Mark Bedworth marred Westoe's 31-21 home win in Saturday's crucial game against Huddersfield.

They leapfrogged the visitors into second place in National Two North but face a tough fight to hang on to the promotion play-off spot in the final six games.

With the goal-kicking Bedworth ruled out, they visit runaway leaders Loughborough this week then entertain Caldy, who are only a point behind them with a game in hand.

Bedworth, who learnt his rugby with Durham City and Mowden Park, kicked four first half penalties but Westoe trailed until winger Peter Phelan scored on the stroke of half-time.

Bedworth converted for a 19-18 lead but was injured a minute after half-time and it was left to the Westoe pack to nail victory.

No 8 Ben Frankland forced his way over under the posts for Simon O'Farrell to convert and in the last minute Frankland scored again.

Blaydon's early start for the trip to National One leaders Jersey took its toll as they were overpowered after leading 7-3 at half-time and lost 28-7.

They won the forward battle in the first half and were rewarded by a converted try by fly half Andrew Baggett just before the interval.

But Jersey scored a minute after the restart following a chargedown and added two more tries in the next ten minutes. They crossed again in the final play of the game.

Tynedale lost 16-14 to a last-minute drop goal at Birmingham-Solihull, whose third successive win still left them well adrift of safety in third bottom spot.

Coached by Stockton-born Russell Earnshaw, the hosts dominated up front and led 10-0 at half-time. But two converted tries in four minutes turned the tables, both set up by fly half Gavin Beasley for centre Harry Mountain.

A penalty ten minutes from time cut the gap to one point and home full back Dan Hawkes fired the winning drop goal.

Darlington Mowden Park maintained their 18-point lead at the top of National Three North thanks to the last kick of the game at Beverley striking an upright.

Had the conversion from wide out gone over it would have tied the scores, but Mowden won 22-20 against a side who have been greatly strengthened in recent weeks in an attempt to beat the drop.

Although they were up against a huge pack in a physical encounter, Mowden took the lead after three minutes and were never behind.

An excellent break by centre Chris Peace made the running for the first try, with flanker Luke Wishnowsky snapping up the ball at the breakdown to dummy his way over.

After ten minutes scrum half Zylon McGaffin put in a clever kick from a scrum just outside Mowden's 22 and winger Chris McTurk caught the ball on the full. He beat one man before drawing the last defender and lobbing an inside pass for centre Cameron Mitchell to score.

Tom Hodgson's second conversion made it 14-0 and he added a penalty after Beverley came back with their first try.

Mowden still looked comfortable, but a poor pass led to the hosts scoring out wide again and when they also kicked a penalty it was 17-15 at the break.

The packs battered each other for 20 minutes before Mowden were awarded a penalty on their ten-metre line and McTurk took it quickly, chipped ahead and re-gathered to score.

Beverley resorted to driving mauls and finally got over in the last minute, but the losing bonus point didn't ease their plight.

West Hartlepool came back from 8-0 down to win 25-20 at home to Birkenhead Park, scoring four unconverted tries to earn the bonus point.

Greg Edwards finished a good move with a burst up the left wing and on the half hour West took the lead through with a try by hooker Liam Bailey after kicking a penalty to touch.

Scott Butcher scored after 50 minutes when he beat his opposite number to a bouncing ball following a cross-field kick from fly half Stu Waites.

Paul Moss and Gareth Eddy came off the bench and a strong run by Moss led to a try for Dan Boatman, but Birkenhead came back strongly and scored a converted try with four minutes left to set up a tense finish.

Billingham's 80-12 home win against Gateshead left them needing two wins from the last five games to secure promotion from North One East.

Middlesbrough remain second, a point ahead of Wheatley Hills, after a 54-7 home win against bottom club Team Northumbria. Percy Park also continue to threaten after a 32-22 home win against Malton and Norton, who are Boro's hosts this week.

The student visitors to Acklam Park were overpowered up front with hooker Richard Horton scoring a hat-trick and Iain Bradford grabbing a brace for Boro.

Bradford's back row colleague Jack Aldus also touched down a pushover try before Boro began to let the ball out. Three of the tries they scored in the last five minutes came on the wings from Josh Evans, replacement Peter Wright and Andy Micklewright. Jack Bircham added five conversions and a penalty.

In D and N One Stockton scored six tries to follow two costly defeats with a 36-6 win at Novos. Dynamic open side flanker Anthony Parkinson and scrum half Rob Green scored in the first quarter then full back Dan Phinn added a brace either side of half-time.

Lock Phil Douglas also touched down and replacement back Andy Bare strolled over from the first pass he received. Jeremy Good added three conversions.

New centre Dan Earl made his mark and 18-year-old prop Dean Gouldsborough came off the bench for a sound debut.

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