Red-hot Horden live up to their billing as title-favourites

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HORDEN justified their position of Durham and Northumberland Division One title favourites with a magnificent 60-7 victory at Consett.

Glenn Bowman’s team, who finished like a train last year to finish third, started as they signed off and ran in 10 tries, Craig Jones leading the way with a hat-trick.

Horden started the game brightly and had the maximum points in the bag within the first quarter.

The opener came on five minutes when Harry Cox made a break down the left wing. Paul James took the ball on the charge and made good ground before possession was moved swiftly to centre Andy White who crashed through to go under the posts.

White was involved in the next score, chasing down a kick from Andrew Turner. Young flanker Chris Wood made an excellent turnover for the powerful James to burst through the defence.

Luke Watson then broke from the away 22 and fed Turner, who slipped the ball to Davey Smith who went outside the defender and raced to the opposition 22 before feeding Craig Jones to go over in the corner.

The pack were becoming increasingly dominant, especially in the loose, and James and Michael Thubron paved the way for the next try, their rampaging runs establishing the position from which Smith touched down. The scoring continued when another Wood turnover allowed Watson to nip through for the fifth.

Consett clawed their way back into the game with their only score.

Normal service was resumed from a scrum inside the opposition 22 when James and White carried well before Newton Turton picked up and drove over. Turner added a third conversion to make it 36-7 at half-time.

Wood and Smith put in the donkey work for the seventh try when Paul Malcolm charged over from inside the home 22 to make it 43-7.

Smith then went from provider to scorer for the next five-pointer. He made a tackle on his opposite number and was quickly back on his feet to claim the ball and set off downfield from inside his own half to outpace the cover defence for his second try.

Watson was involved in the next two tries, with Jones getting them both to complete his hat-trick and the rout. Turner added two second-half conversions.

Thubron led from the front, backed by the equally impressive Malcolm, with back-row forward Wood having a very good league debut.

H Will Paxton and Liam Wilson grabbed Durham City’s tries in a 20-10 defeat at Hartlepool Rovers, after they twice led at the Friarage.