HOUGHTON sealed their first double of the season with a tight 7-5 victory at Seaham.
The victory sees Houghton still in second place in Durham Northumberland Three with an eight-point advantage over third-placed Newton Aycliffe.
Houghton were forced into making two changes to their front row just before the kick-off due to player unavailability, with Director of Rugby Chris Simpson having to make only his third start of the season at loose head and Ian Turnbull having to move up from the second team at tight head.
Houghton immediately put the Seaham defence under pressure in their own 22. In the third minute, after several promising moves, Houghton secured a line-out on the Seaham five-metre line.
Seaham won the line-out but an attempted clearance was charged down and Houghton’s Ian Turnbull reacted first to score a try which was followed by a successful conversion from Simpson.
The Houghton try seemed to wake Seaham up and straight from the restart they had Houghton pinned down on the edge of their 22. Following several attacking phases, they were given an opportunity to reduce the deficit when they were awarded a penalty just outside the Houghton 22. However, it was missed by Graham Steel.
Seaham continued to apply the pressure and were awarded another penalty, only for Steel to miss again. After withstanding a lot of pressure, Houghton finally won a penalty of their own, but this time Simpson was off target.
Early in the second half, Simpson was off target again from a penalty as the visitors looked to extend their lead.
Houghton were reduced to 14 men when Ryan Main was shown a yellow card and a few minutes later further yellows were shown to Houghton’s Craig Hicks and Seaham’s John Dye.
Seaham finally got the breakthrough they were looking for in the 63rd minute. Mick Bland won a line-out and set up a rolling maul.
Blindside flanker John Dixon then broke away and powered over in the left corner. The touchline conversion was narrowly missed by Steel so the visitors retained a slender 7-5 advantage.
Houghton were immediately awarded a penalty on the restart but this time Dan Bearn, back in action after three months out injured, narrowly missed the target.
The final ten minutes were spent in the Seaham as Houghton pressed forward, but the home side finally held them at bay five metres out.