IN THE battle between second and third in Durham and Northumberland Division Three, second-top Houghton triumphed 23-0 at Newton Aycliffe.
Houghton piled on the pressure from the start, dominating in every set play.
The first points came after just two minutes with a penalty from Dan Bearn.
Newton Aycliffe replied with some pressure of their own and found themselves with a scrum close to the try line, but the visiting pack tidied up from a home mistake.
Another dominant streak by Houghton after 15 minutes brought another penalty kicked by Bearn to double the lead.
The away side’s resilience prevailed again as they held the ghome side at bay and then went on the ttack themselves.
The ball was powered through and straight over the line by Glen Atkinson after crucial support plays from the Houghton forwards on the 35th minute.
The conversion was scored by Bearn and Houghton were well on their way to victory.
The second half started as the first ended, with Houghton showing strength in their forward play. Any Newton Aycliffe hopes of points were soon quashed by solid defence.
Houghton’s strength and quality then showed. Strong forwards secured the ball for the backs. The backs then showed tidy and neat offloads to shift it out wide.
Five minutes into the half Graham Hughes scored Houghton’s second try, but the conversion was missed.
A large period of the half was then played in midfield with neither side making much progress.
Cards were shown throughout the game for both sides, with Houghton receiving cards for collapsing the maul.
Newton Aycliffe had a try disallowed as Houghton managed to find a reply for all of the home team’s ideas.
On the 68th minute, Houghton again moved the ball wide. With a similar style to the first try, a series of neat hands and tidy offloads sent Ross McGorman darting into space and over the line. The conversion was missed.
Newton Aycliffe changed tactics towards the end of the game by playing the chip-kick over the defensive line.
However they still could turn any pressure into points. They went close in the last minute only to be denied by an impressive last-ditch tackle by Alex Hogg.