Gateshead push Horden all the way

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HORDEN bounced back to winning ways when they eventually held off the challenge of 14-man Gateshead in Durham and Northumberland Division One on Saturday.

Lowly Gateshead pushed every step of the way, even though they played half the game one player light, after being forced to go to uncontested scrums following injuries to two forwards.

It was the attack-minded visitors who took the lead with a long-range penalty after 15 minutes. But Horden responded after kicking a penalty to the corner for a line-out which set up a catch and drive and an unconverted try for Michael Thubron.

An Andrew Turner penalty made it 8-3 before Gateshead took advantage of a soft try to go 10-8 up.

Trying to run the ball inside the home 22, Luke Watson mishandled allowing their centre to scoop up the ball and go under the posts

Horden regained their advantage after Gateshead gave away a penalty and had the guilty player sin-binned. From the line-out, Paul James got the touchdown from the catch and drive to make it 15-10.

Soon after, Gateshead lost a second forward to injury and had to go to uncontested scrums. The rules state that a side who are forced to use this option must also remove a fit player and operate with 14 men.

But if table-topping Horden thought it was going to be easy, they were in for a rude awakening when good interplay saw Gateshead go over in the corner early in the second half to take the lead 17-15.

It did not last long and a penalty in front of the posts by Turner made it 18-17 to Horden. The hosts then battered away in the away 22 only sloppy handling to affect them.

But Horden eventually got their rewards when Richie Thirkell crashed over from short range following a series of drives for a converted try.

With 15 minutes to go and Horden pushing for a bonus point, Gateshead closed the gap yet again when they touched down for a fourth try to cut the gap to just 25-24.

Gateshead now had the momentum and were throwing everything they could at Horden, who scrambled the defence to keep their line intact.

A missed clearance kick eventually gave the Colliery side the opportunity to close the game out. Full-back David Heckles caught the ball inside his own half, beat the first man and then charged down the touchline, stepping past another couple of defenders before feeding Chris Purvis who scored in the corner to make it 30-24.