Newcastle 2nds 10

Whitchurch 2nds 21

A HALF-time tactics change was the key to victory at the weekend, as Whitchurch Rugby Club's seconds beat Newcastle seconds 21-10 in a thrilling encounter.

It took 20 minutes for visitors to adjust from the dry, bowling green like Edgeley Park to the North Staffordshire clay and Whitchurch found themselves ten points down.

A rolling maul and a break from their quick centre saw the Newcastle men score two unconverted tries.

The Reds then found their feet and, repeating last week’s feat of overcoming a double digit deficit, began to move forward with purpose and power.

A fine chip by Lee Blackhurst was perfectly dropped into space where he scooped up the ball and swerved around the full back to score under the posts.

Blackhurst converted his own try and the game sprang alive.

Newcastle were determined to score again but the Whitchurch players, especially Brian Terdovskj, Josh Skover, Dan Hunt and Daz Blackhurst, showed tackling as it should be done and refused to let them pass.

In attack it was the impressive James Ryder along with Tom Bradshaw, Connor Tinsley and the ageless 'Chubsy, who showed an aggression that has been lacking in the past, but has returned with a vengeance.

At half-time the Reds were down 10-7 but they entered the second-half with determination.

A tactical switch saw Matt Davies move to outside half and Lee Blackhurst move to outside centre where he could show his speed in space.

It wasn’t long before the move paid off and Davies cruised through a gap in the defence to score.

Blackhurst converted to give Whitchurch the lead for the first time.

Ten minutes later, a series of charges by the red forwards constantly recycled the ball and eventually it came out to the classy Davies in an outside channel and he sprinted around the winger and across the line, Blackhurst converted again.

Newcastle redoubled their efforts but Whitchurch held firm.

The last move of the game showed everything that there is about this team when the home winger looked to have outpaced the Whitchurch defence and looked certain to score when Skover made a crunching tackle on him and the ball was spilled.

The whistle blew with Whitchurch jubilant and the home team licking their wounds.

Whitchurch seconds are away again this Saturday as they head off to Manchester to play Spartans' first XV.