Horden go three points clear at top of table

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HORDEN will go into the league’s festive break three points clear at the top of Durham Northumberland One.

While previous second-placed Guisborough dropped points at the Friarage, Horden strengthened their grip on first place with a shut-out 29-0 success at Novocastrians.

Horden started the game well and spent the first 20 minutes camped in the Novos half.

But a strong crossfield wind meant that there were quite a few errors and consequently a high number of scrums.

Horden were dominant in that area of the game and shunted the home pack around.

With that set-piece giving the pacesetters a great foundation, the forwards took to the game to the opposition with some storming runs from Paul James, Paul Malcolm, Michael Thubron and Richie Thirkell.

However, Novos dug in and defended well to keep them out. Given the pressure, it was only a matter of time before Horden scored.

Watson hit a great change of angle and scored from close range, Andrew Turner converting to give his team a 7-0 lead on 25 minutes.

The second score came from a turnover on halfway. The ball was moved wide to Chris Purvis who made a great break from just inside his own half, beating three defenders and taking play deep into the Novos 22.

And from a scrum five metres out, Forbes picked up and drove over for a converted score to make it 14-0.

The next try was probably the pick of the game. Just before half-time, Watson stepped through a hole in the midfield and made good ground before being pulled down on the 22. The ball was recycled and transferred wide quickly to David Heckles who held off the last defender before putting Turner in at the corner for a 19-0 interval advantage.

After the break, Horden worked their way into the Novos half, from where young winger Cameron Stables outpaced the cover defence to score out wide.

The fifth and final score came from a line-out catch and drive with Steven Heckles touching down to make it 29-0.

Horden head coach Glenn Bowman said: “We showed good patience and ball retention, especially in the second half. I was really pleased with our defence, to nil them was a big plus.

“At the start of the month, we targeted 15 points from the three games we had and all credit to the lads for delivering that.

“We’ll start the new year in top spot but January is going to be a massive month for us.”

, and it gets no bigger than Rovers at home on the 4th.

“Rovers did us a favour by beating Guisborough so they’ll be looking to use that as a springboard for the second half of the season.

“That first game 2014 is going to be a key one for both sides.”