Gateshead Thunder 18 Whitehaven 30

GATESHEAD Thunder's quest for a first league win in more than two years continues after Whitehaven became their latest victors.

GATESHEAD Thunder's quest for a first league win in more than two years continues after Whitehaven became their latest victors.

Co-operative Championship One’s bottom side failed to build on last weekend’s Carnegie Challenge Cup win over amateur side York Acorn, but did at least manage a losing bonus point through Ryan Clarke’s last-minute penalty. In the week that he played a well-deserved testimonial game after 13 seasons with the club, Robin Peers put Gateshead into an early lead after going the length of the field from a Whitehaven kick.

The Cumbrians hit back with stand-off Ben Karilis levelling proceedings through a well-taken try, converted by Rudd.

Winger Max Wiper put Whitehaven into the lead, but Mike Mitchell drew Gateshead level after a botched clearance attempt from the visiting side.

Richard Varkulis’ try put Whitehaven back ahead.

That left Thunder training 16-10 at the half-time siren, but Craig Calvert extended the gap to double figures with the first touch-down of the second 40. Clarke reduced the arrears to six after offload work from Paul Stamp rewarded earlier forward pressure from powerful Fijian Tabua Cakacaka.

Andreas Bauer’s try and Rudd’s conversion once again extended the gap to double figures. Calvert’s second try secured the result for Whitehaven.

The hosts at least did not end the day entirely empty-handed as Clarke’s penalty with the last kick of the game handed them a losing bonus point.

MARK SMITH

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