HORDEN maintained their place at the top of Durham and Northumberland Division One with a huge 55-12 win over Gosforth at Welfare Park.
The league leaders, playing up the bank and into a slight breeze in the first half, were put on the defensive for the first 10 minutes, Gosforth taking a 7-0 lead with a converted try after their centre scored under the posts.
But Horden engineered their first try shortly afterwards, the backs running a set move which saw Craig Jones run a great inside line and break a tackle to go under the posts.
Horden’s forwards started to get on top and after taking play into the Gos 22, the pack showed good patience to pick and drive through numerous phases which allowed hooker Ritchie Thirkell to crash over from short range.
Horden struck again following a Paul Malcolm line-out steal and then good hands by David Bains and Watson.
The ball was moved wide to Chris Purvis, the winger stepping in field to make good ground, before Thirkell and skipper James ran hard before popping the ball to the supporting Kieran Forbes to finish. Andrew Turner converted all three tries to make it 21-7 at half-time.
Horden sealed the try bonus point within five minutes of the re-start, Watson breaking around the blindside to feed fellow centre Carl Oliver who broke the covering tackle to score.
Watson was also involved in the next try, slipping through a hole in midfield to find Purvis who wrongfooted the defence to make it 31-7.
From a scrum on halfway good handling by the Horden midfield released Jones, who looked as though he may have knocked on but the referee waved play on and the winger outpaced the cover to go over in the corner.
Full-back Heckles then got in on the act. A real attacking threat all afternoon, he got his just rewards when he rounded the away winger to extend the lead to 45-7.
Gosforth squeezed in at the corner for an unconverted try but with a couple of minutes left, Andy Raine made a great break down the blindside from a scrum and fed Jones who stepped inside the winger and full-back to complete his second hat-trick in two Saturdays and take his try tally for the season to 20.
Turner converted two second half tries and kicked a penalty for a comprehensive 55-12 win.
Forbes had a cracking game at number eight for Horden, who are one point above Guisborough at the top.