SEAHAM’S dwindling promotion hopes were dealt a massive blow as they endured a miserable 31-0 defeat away to South Tyneside College on Saturday.
After the incessant rain had rendered their Grosvenor Road pitch virtually unplayable, the fixture was switched to the nearby Harton Technical College and played on a 3G pitch.
Although both sides were equally unfamiliar with the artificial surface, the College appeared to adapt better and operated a strong running game based on the solid platform provided by their well-drilled pack.
The hosts looked threatening from the offset and pressured Seaham’s line with strong running, precision passing and excellent support play.
With play on their try line, Seaham somehow managed to turn possession in their favour and the ball was spun back to Graham Aldus. His clearance was charged down but fortunately went dead before it could be touched down.
Seaham’s defensive prospects were dealt a big blow on 16 minutes when hard-tackling flanker Grant Dixon left the field with a hamstring injury.
His loss saw a welcome return for James Ramshaw, who returned to action following a long spell out with a knee injury.
Seaham’s luck ran out in the 19th minute, though, when a kick through bounced favourably into the hands of a College player and he dropped over the line for the opening score. A fine conversion was added and the hosts were 7-0 ahead.
The College maintained their pressure and kept Seaham on the back foot at every opportunity, going over stretch the lead to 12-0. It was then 19-0 when slick passing move tore through the Seaham defence.
Seaham were dealt a double blow at the interval, with John Dixon’s calf injury causing him to make way for Andy Short.
Michael Flowers had also turned his ankle and was replaced in the front row by Mark Wilson.
Seaham came storming out of the blocks from the restart and had the College on the back foot with driving forward play and slick passing. Aldus ran through midfield and ran into a solid tackle by the hosts’ flanker. However, the referee adjudged a tip tackle and issued a yellow card.
Seaham, though, were unable to capitalise on their numerical advantage and it was College who scored again with a converted try to earn a valuable try bonus point.
Seaham’s best scoring opportunity of the half came just before the hour when one of many barnstorming runs by number eight Ryan Pink took him deep into the College half.
Charges by Mark Wilson, Ramshaw and Jon Dye took Seaham close but Aldus turned possession over near the try line.
The final quarter of the game was well contested, but the hosts were again the only ones to make an impact on the scoreboard, registering a fifth try to round off an emphatic victory.
H Sunderland’s Division Two match away to Wallsend was postponed.