Gateshead Thunder head coach Kevin Neighbour went into yesterday’s game against London Skolars by saying the capital club can both score and concede points in big numbers. No kidding.
Yesterday’s try-fest was ultimately decided by 18 second-half minutes in which London managed to score four to Gateshead’s none, but for any team to amass more than a half-century of points and still lose seems harsh in the extreme.
It was certainly a dramatic way to mark their return to Filtrona Park, the South Shields venue which will host their next two home games.
Notching eight tries in defeat, Thunder were 30-18 up at the break and looking good in the latest in a succession of promising first-half displays.
As has been the case previously it was their form after the oranges that cost them, but the early signs were full of promise as Ben Hardcastle’s try got them on the board in the fourth minute.
London pinched the lead through Alex Hurst and Ade Adebisi’s tries before the quarter mark, but Gateshead finished the half strongly for a deserved interval advantage.
Josh Neilson found his way over the whitewash on the half-hour, skipper Jason Payne following suit, and even when Adebisi crossed for his second the home side were still 12 points to the good.
That soon changed as the Skolars began the second half like a runaway train, Hurst poaching his second just five minutes after the resumption. Louis Robinson was next over, and when Erjon Dollapi and Joe Price scooted in they had a lead they were never to lose.
A creditable comeback had Thunder in contention until the end as Callum Cockburn, Hardcastle and Paul Stamp all breached the defence to score, but Hurst’s hat-trick try and then his fourth put the result beyond their reach.
Meanwhile, in rugby union’s Under-20s World Cup in France, Newcastle Falcons prop Scott Wilson was on the losing side as England fell 31-24 to South Africa.
An HFW Wailers side containing a host of North East players was beaten by a late Samurai try in the GB7s in Edinburgh, but still leads the overall standings after winning last week in Wales.