Ashington team talk inspires second-half turnaround at North Shields
Coach Drew Hayton brought on Bradley Smart, Jake Eagle and Ewan Dodgson for the second half, replacing debutant Malik Njie, Andrew Reynolds and Patrick Delaney, and whatever he said during the break had an immediate impact.
Ian Brierley, like an out of control rhino, hit a fantastic line to burst through tackles and charge 30 metres upfield, the ball was taken on by Joseph Fearns and then Adam Junk and from the ruck Jordan Webster took the ball at pace, charging through two attempted tackles to race 25 metres for the first of his two tries.
Four minutes later Ashington got their second try when Eagle squeezed in at the corner after Fearns, Junk and Webster had combined, Johnathan Arkle hitting the touch line conversion to make the score 13-12, seven minutes into the second half.
A Jonathan McNickle break found Jack Taylor and Dodgson in support, and from the attacking ruck, Ash were awarded a penalty. Unfortunately Arkle missed the opportunity to give Ashington the lead, however, four minutes later a sweeping Ashington move saw the evergreen Brian Merryweather jink past the covering defence to score wide out, Arkle making amends by kicking the difficult conversion.
With six minutes remaining, a Dan Simpson break up the middle saw the ball shifted right to Taylor, who scorched his way down the touchline and from the ruck Webster drove over for his second try, Arkle adding the conversion. Final score 13-26.
Teenager Fearns, just 18 years old, was awarded man of the match for the fourth time this season, an incredible achievement, but he was well supported by his team mates, including Webster, who had an excellent second half, Matthew Moffatt and Owen Hayton, who worked well as a second row pair, and the centre pairing of Simpson and McNickle.
Ashington 2s had an excellent 49-0 win against a depleted North Shields, a big thanks to the visitors making the journey to ensure everyone got a game.
Ashington 1s are without a fixture next week.