Thunder's best earns victory

Gateshead Thunder produced their best defensive display of the season to overturn a half-time deficit and beat Yorkshire outfit Hunslet Hawks at the Thunderdome, writes Jeff Bowron.

Gateshead Thunder produced their best defensive display of the season to overturn a half-time deficit and beat Yorkshire outfit Hunslet Hawks at the Thunderdome, writes Jeff Bowron.

Heavy rain leading up to kick-off left the pitch saturated and proved heavy going for the players with handling errors prevalent as the game went on.

Hunslet adapted to the conditions quickly to take a 6-0 interval lead, although Thunder passed up chances three times near the line.

A Darren Robinson penalty gave Hunslet the lead after Gateshead had been penalised three times by Wigan referee Mike Dawber. Then, with centre Mark McKinley sin-binned, Robin Peers was held in goal after taking a Mark Moxon bomb. Robinson put former Thunder winger Steve Morton over in the corner.

Gateshead struggled for field position but Pat Williamson lost the ball in the tackle over the try line, Peers fumbled another chance and a Mark Christensen break went unrewarded.

It was Hunslet's turn to fail to score in a second half dominated by a rejuvenated Gateshead who pinned the Tykes in their own half for long periods.

Australian playmaker Tim Martin was the catalyst for a fourth Co-op National League Two win, scoring twice in the opening 10 minutes of the second half. Clint Frazer put Martin in from 10 metres following a scrum and then Martin superbly raced on to his own grubber kick to put Thunder ahead.

Substitute Ryan Clarke converted both and the third quarter was one-way traffic as Hunslet fell away and lacked any cohesion or threat going forward.

Their only two attacks came from scrum-half Matt Firth who twice broke the Thunder line only for the home defence to remain rock solid.

The Tynesiders finally put the game to bed when, after a Robinson knock-on, Christensen raced through a gap in the Hawks' left side from 20 metres three minutes from time.

Gateshead thunder: Thorman, Peers, Stephenson, McKinley, Harris, Christensen, Martin, Doherty, Hyde, Cakacaka, Wooden, Nash, Williamson. Subs (all used): Clarke, Frazer, Parker, Bradley.

Referee: Mike Dawber (Wigan).

Attendance: 276.

Scoring: D Robinson, Pen, 14mins, 0-2; Morton, Try, 24mins, 0-6; Martin, Try, 45mins, 4-6; Clarke, Con, 6-6; Martin, Try, 49mins, 10-6; Clarke, Con, 12-6; Christensen, Try, 77mins, 16-6; Clarke, Con, 18-6.

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