A LATE penalty from James Ramshaw sealed a battling 3-0 win for Seaham against Barnard Castle in desperately heavy conditions.
Despite the sodden pitch, both sets of backs spun the ball keenly at every opportunity from the start.
Glen Hardie took some excellent catches at full-back and ran each one back with interest. One run took him to the verge of Castle’s 22 and a ruck was set up.
In their eagerness to win a turnover, the visitors went over the top and were penalised. Right-wing Graeme Steel lined up a kick from 30 metres but it sailed narrowly wide.
Barnard Castle had a penalty of their own from 40 metres outn when the hosts strayed offside. Their prop lined up a kick but also sent his effort wide.
Shortly afterwards, centre Jon Dye was forced to leave the pitch after aggravating the calf strain he had picked up at Redcar the previous week.
The visitors had another opportunity in the 21st minute when Grant Dixon was penalised for handling in a ruck. Once again, Seaham’s luck was in and the visitors’ prop missed his second kick of the day.
The efforts of the Seaham pack, with skipper Ben Bell, Ryan Pink and John Dixon at the centre of everything, won good territory and they worked upfield towards the Castle goal line.
On two occasions leading up to the interval, a Castle forward went off his feet at a ruck and penalties were awarded. Fortunately for them, Steel appeared to have left his kicking boots at home and the half ended scoreless.
Seaham’s injury crisis continued following the break, with full-back Glen Hardie off with a twisted knee.
The dour battle continued but heading towards the final quarter, Seaham looked to be gaining in strength and half-backs Brad Green and Jack McCallum combined well to their backs.
Centres Graham Aldus and James Ramshaw battered forward but strong defence held them off time and again.
Heading into the final ten minutes, the Harbour pack stormed down the middle of the field with scrum half Brad Green calling the shots and orchestrating bursts from the breakdown area. Eventually, one of the Castle forwards was penalised for failing to release following a tackle. Having already missed his fourth penalty attempt of the day ten minutes earlier, Steel handed kicking duties over to James Ramshaw. and the youngster duly slotted the ball through the posts for the only score of the day.
Seaham looked to have scored a try four minutes from the end when Chris Bland powered over the line, only for the reefree to adjudge that he had been held up.
Castle then tried to snatch a victory with some clever interplay taking them deep into the Seaham half but the hosts held their lines well to hang on to their lead.