Guisborough travelled a short distance over the North York Moors to take on Whitby in a derby day clash. Playing uphill against the wind and low bright sunlight, the visitors attacked from the kick-off. Phil Shields broke out of his own 22 metre area and sprinted along the left wing. Inside the Whitby half he kicked forward for Mark Ferguson, but a chasing defender gathered the ball first and kicked clear into touch.

The danger for the home team was not over though. A quick line-out by Alex Ruff continued the attack. Mitch Cannon and Dan Stephenson made ground up the centre of the pitch before Joe Whyman broke left and passed to Jack Robinson, who scored the first try of the game.

Immediately from the re-start Whitby had a chance to reduce the arrears when awarded a penalty 35 metres out and in front of the posts, but the kick at goal sailed wide of the right post. The visitors were on the attack again soon after.

From a scrum Tony Conway made ground before offloading to Oli Muir. Penetrating the midfield, the ball was then switched to the left wing where Ruff passed to Shields. The full-back had no trouble in touching down to score. Playing well against the elements, and dominant in the scrums, Guisborough were putting Whitby on the back foot. Shields made ground up the central area of the pitch before off-loading to Ruff. The centre then passed to Ferguson who hurtled towards the Whitby try-line, but a forward pass had been spotted by the referee.

The hosts cleared with a long kick towards the Guisborough 22 and enjoyed a period of play close to their opponents’ try-line. A break along the left wing looked to have brought Whitby success, but the ball was knocked on as a player crossed to score.

Another attack, from a quickly run penalty, saw Whitby go through the phases inside Guisborough’s 22. Again the ball was shipped to the left wing where an overlap was created, but a knock on five metres out saved the visitors from conceding a score. A counter attack from under the posts from this mistake saw Robinson break out of defence and link up with Shields.

Heading over the half-way line, a pass to Ferguson released the winger who stormed over and touch down to the left of the posts. From the re-start Whitby headed back into the Guisborough half, after being awarded a brace of penalties. From the latter the home team elected a scrum 15 metres from the opposition whitewash. Winning the set-piece, the ball moved quickly to the left wing where the hosts’ winger touched down to open his team’s account.

The score was a wake-up call for the Priorymen. From a scrum on their opponents’ ten-metre line, Ruff broke through defenders before being tackled. However, from the ruck recycled ball reached Robinson who sent Shields over to score. Whitby attempted to get themselves back into the game and, after winning a line-out, a catch and drive towards the Guisborough line looked promising, but Cannon showed his strength by ripping the ball and winning possession.

Whilst in their 22 metre area the visitors were awarded a scrum. As the ball came back their way, Whyman chipped the ball accurately towards the left wing. Ferguson ran onto the bouncing ball and collected before racing clear from just inside his own half, evading tackles, before scoring. With this try, the referee blew his whistle to end the first half with the scoreboard reading: Whitby 5 points, Guisborough 31 points. The visitors started the second half with plenty of possession in their opponents’ half, but not troubling the scoreboard. After Shields and Edwards had moved play inside the Whitby 22, the referee had to intervene as a scuffle broke out between players. Once order had been restored, Ruff was shown a yellow card along with a Whitby player.

Guisborough were awarded a penalty from the incident which was drilled into touch, five metres from the home team line. A catch and drive moved forward towards the whitewash. Richard Cahill was at the base of the drive and had the simplest of tasks to score.

The visitors were coping better with being reduced to 14 players. From a scrum close to half-way, Matthew Flint burst through the midfield before off-loading to Rory Cosgrove. Taking play into the Whitby 22, slick handling and passing by Whyman, Muir and Rob Leggott allowed the supporting Cahill to score a quick brace of tries. It was now one-way traffic as Guisborough piled on the pressure. A trademark run by Edwards launched another attack deep into opposition territory. A penalty was kicked to touch, but the line-out went astray.

This though did not help Whitby, who were pushed back at the scrum and had to rush a clearance. Still in the opposition 22, the away team did not fluff the next line-out. Winning possession, Muir crashed through the midfield. The ball moved left, where Lewis Robson came off his wing and sliced through the Whitby defence to score. Finding it increasingly difficult to get into Guisborough territory, Whitby attempted to run the ball on the half-way line. An attempted pass though was intercepted by Whyman who broke clear and headed into the opposition 22. Here Robinson received a pass and dived over to score as he was tackled.

A well worked move from a line-out saw Guisborough cross to score again. Edwards threw in and then ran round to receive the ball from the catcher. Running direct, he crashed through tackles to touch down. Flagging through constant defending, Whitby had no answer to the visitors’ attacking power. A long kick by Whyman took play into the attacking half.

Robson followed up the kick and put in a big tackle causing the opposition player to spill the ball. Ruff picked up the loose ball before Muir and Cahill took play forward. Robinson once again reaped the rewards of being on the ball carrier’s shoulder as he received the pass to score his third try of the afternoon. With the clock ticking down, there was still enough time for Guisborough to score a final try. From a scrum, Shields stormed through the opposition and passed to Ruff. Leggott was on hand to create space for Flint to cross for a deserved try.

He had, after all, played in the front row, second row and back row at some stage in the game! There was little time to re-start before the game ended with the scoreboard reading: Whitby 5 points, Guisborough 78 points.

Guisborough scored twelve tries in total, with the returning Whyman converting nine. Credit must go to Whitby who never gave up until the final whistle but Guisborough had too much skill, pace and power, reflected by the scoreline.