A MISSED conversion condemned Seaham to a 20-18 defeat at home to Winlaton Vulcans in Durham and Northumberland Division Three on Saturday.
Seaham started slowly and were soon 10-0 down. They were penalised for a scrum offence and a penalty put the visitors 3-0 ahead.
Their plight was worsened shortly afterwards when Ryan Pink was yellow-carded. The visitors took immediate advantage and scored a converted try on 16 minutes.
The hosts earned a penalty seven minutes later, after Ben Bell and John Dixon led the forwards to the edge of their 22. Graeme Steel slotted the penalty to cut the deficit to 10-3.
A strong run by prop Jonny Martin took Seaham to within 15 metres, but his fellow forwards were slow in support and he ended up being penalised for not releasing. Shortly afterwards, Pink returned and they were back to full-strength.
Winlaton looked to run the ball out of their 22 but a huge tackle on their fly-half by Ben Bell halted the move and they were penalised at the breakdown. Steel stepped forward and put Seaham within touching distance at 10-6.
Pink was then issued with a final warning by referee Dave Swainson after he had judged the number eight to have tackled a man on the floor. Winlaton managed to maintain the pressure but Seaham held them at bay for the remainder of the half.
Seaham emerged a different team after the break. They countered a ruck inside the Vulcans’ 22 and drove them off their own ball. Kurt Miller picked up and crossed for his first try of the season to take the lead. Steel’s conversion made it 13-10 in Seaham’s favour.
Seaham were then penalised for a ruck offence on 56 minutes and were punished as the Winlaton fly-half nailed his kick from 30 metres to tie at 13-13.
The hosts were reduced to 14 men on 67 minutes when Andy Hogwood was yellow-carded for pulling an opposition jumper down in a line-out.
Vulcans took advantage and a cleverly-timed pass found a gap between Andy Short and Grant Westwick for a try. The conversion took them 20-13 ahead with time running out fast.
Seaham demonstrated excellent character to weather the storm and were given a numerical advantage themselves. Less than 30 seconds after Hogwood’s return, Winlaton’s flanker was shown a yellow card for entering a ruck from the side.
Seaham kicked down into the bottom left corner and Mick Bland won a line-out. From there, second row Chris Bland crashed through several tackles to touch down near the posts.
Unfortunately for the hosts, Steel missed the conversion and Winlaton doggedly held on until the final whistle.