Hartley at the double as Horden rally to outgun Acklam in second-half surge

Houghton (black and white) battle Seaton Carew on Saturday
Houghton (black and white) battle Seaton Carew on Saturday
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Horden shook off a first-half struggle to come back and clinch a bonus-point 27-17 win over Acklam inDurham/Northumberland Division One on Saturday.

The Teessiders were 7-5 ahead at the break – the gap could have been wider – but the colliery side hit back with three second-half scores.

Head coach Glenn Bowman said: “It wasn’t the greatest performance, but we got there in the end. We were better in the second half and managed to get the bonus point win.”

Horden actually started well with an early score by Neil Hartley, when he touched down after the home pack shunted the opposition pack back over their line from a scrum.

Horden should have kicked on, but instead they sat back and gave Acklam the opportunity to play. The Middlesbrough side grew in confidence and were rewarded with the lead after 25 minutes, moving possession to the blindside, where they created and finished a converted try from an overlap.

Acklam continued to create opportunities, but the interval score was just 7-5 to the visitors. After the break, Acklam extended their lead with a penalty and when they counter-attacked and managed to get around the outside to touch down, the lead was 17-5.

Horden began to apply pressure and force errors from Acklam. Hartley touched down for a repeat of his first score when the forwards nudged Acklam back.

Horden now had some momentum and Chrissy Wood set up Cameron Stables who forced his way over from 10 metres out. Craig Jones converted well from wide out to draw matters level at 17-17.

And Jones then got in front with a fine individual effort. Defensive pressure forced Acklam to kick to the open wing, where he gathered just inside his own half, went through a hole in the defence and headed for the corner.

He showed good strength to bounce off a couple of covering defenders and scored to put the hosts ahead.

Jones’s great touchline conversion made it 24-17 and he added a penalty to make it 27-17 and deny their opponents a bonus point. “We had to work hard to get it, but credit to the lads for having the belief and desire to do it,” said Bowman.

Durham City maintained their magnificent start with an eighth win out of eight in Division One, comprehensively outplaying Novos 48-5 to stay four points clear of Middlesbrough at the top.