SEAHAM put some distance between themselves and basement rivals Winlaton Vulcans in Durham and Northumberland Two with a hard-earned 22-13 victory at the Leisure Centre.
The home side were delighted to finish on top and sent the Vulcans home empty-handed after denying them a valuable losing bonus point.
The visitors started the game strongly with their fly-half calling the shots, and their forward pressure earned four penalties in the first three minutes. The third was slotted between the posts for an early 3-0 lead and the fourth attempt drifted narrowly to the left.
Seaham’s forwards knuckled down after their let-offs and strong carries down the middle of the pitch by Ryan Pink, Andy Hogwood and Jon Dye took them to the edge of the visitors’ 22.
A Winlaton forward strayed offside and conceded a penalty which Graeme Steel nailed to tie the scores.
Seaham transgressed when a forward went over the top at a ruck to concede a penalty which was converted. Steel then missed a chance to level with a penalty that wide.
Seaham’s pack maintained the pressure and earned another penalty on 37 minutes. Scrum-half Brad Green took a quick tap and passed to Dye on his right. He beat two defenders before offloading to Jack McCallum, who touched down in the right corner.
Steel added the conversion and the hosts looked good value for their 10-6 lead.
Seaham came storming out of the blocks from the restart and a sustained spell of pressure resulted in a penalty. The ball was kicked into the corner and Ben Bell took a fine catch from the resulting line-out. A rolling maul was set up with Damien Martinez, Pink and Mick Bland breaking away and driving for the line. Although the Vulcans defended stubbornly, Seaham maintained the pressure and hooker Kurt Miller touched down in the corner for his first try of the season and a 15-6 lead.
The hosts stretched their lead to two scores in the 53rd minute when centre Mark Wilson and McCallum made good territorial gain with strong runs and sucked in the opposition defence. Dye followed up in support and dummied his way over for a third try, which was converted by Steel from the touchline, for a 22-6 lead.
Winlaton made several tactical substitutions going into the final quarter and they paid dividends.
Their tall second row gave Bland and Bell a stern challenge in the lineouts and their replacement tight head prop made Seaham loose head Jonny Martin work hard in the scrums.
The visitors finished strongly and set up camp in Seaham’s 22 for much of the final quarter. Their efforts finally paid dividends on 64 minutes when their prop burrowed over for a converted try to narrow the deficit to 22-13.
Seaham were forced to safeguard their line but were penalised on numerous occasions. The referee eventually lost patience and issued Steel a yellow card when he was spotted kicking the ball away to prevent a quick tap penalty.
However, Seaham’s spirit prevailed and they prevented any further scores to seal an important victory.