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Gateshead Storm 10 Hemel Stags 46 Mon May 04, 2009 7:48 am  

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Gateshead Storm 10 – 46 Hemel Stags

Adam Houston reports from Bullocksteads

A heavily depleted Gateshead Storm side were the hosts as Hemel made the 540 mile round trip up North. With notable absentees due to injuries along with Magic Weekend commitments, John Coutts handed debuts to 5 new players. Hemel, who have started this year’s campaign strongly agreed to reverse the tie, due to be played at Pennine Way and travelled with a near full strength side.

The visitors started strongest and it was evident why they’ve picked up the results they have, their attacking flair proving too strong for a weary Storm defence. Their best on the day, James Howitt crossed after just 4 mins, pushing aside would be tacklers to cross under the posts. Barry John Swindells with the first of a near perfect display of goalkicking.
Swindells then crossed for the first of his brace on 8 mins, again Howitt proving a handful with his barnstorming runs, before offloading to the supporting Full back who converted his own score. With less than a quarter of the match gone, Hemel stretched their lead to 18 points when Brendan Williams grubber on the last tackle sat up nicely for Andy Champ to touchdown, Swindells again with the extras.

Storm were then hard done to when Reece Young’s effort was chalked off. The lively teenage half back who was proving to be a thorn in the Hemel side, this time coming up with the ball after Will Bate’s high bomb asked questions of the Stags defence. Referee Rob Howe disallowing the effort, judging the Gateshead kick chase to be offside, quelling the chance of a Storm fightback before Brad Glen crossed for the Hertfordshire side. Ian Grime making a break and feeding the Centre who outpaced the cover defence. Swindells again adding the extras.

Stags again furthered their lead on the half hour mark when Swindells popped up for his second. A break from deep saw the ball go through the hands before the fullback scampered home which he failed to convert. Storm then refused to roll over and after a period of sustained pressure on the Stags line, forcing back to back repeat sets, they gained their just reward. A sweeping move left to right saw Andy Morris put Liam Andrews in the corner, delaying the final pass to allow the supporting Fullback to cross. Coutts’ touchline conversion attempt dropping just short as the hooter sounded.

With the final say of the opening period, a spirited Storm side looked to begin the second half in much the same way, gaining good field position before an unforced error in the final third proved costly. Hemel seized this opportunity and went 70m to cross, Jared Searson breaking from deep before being hauled down, then Giant prop Compton-Meyer crossed under the posts. Again Swindells tagging on the simple extras.

An extended period saw the sides trade possession and field position before a tired Storm defence was then breached twice in quick succession, Andy Grime and Jared Searson scoring long range efforts allowing Swindells to extend his personal haul to 22 points. Brendan Williams saw yellow for the visitors with less than 10 mins to go when he tripped John Coutts as he was about to kick on the last. Storm made the numerical advantage count when Liam Andrews crossed for his Second of the game following great approach play. Forwards Michael Bryan and Chris Burnett making hard yards before Hooker Will Bate was pulled down just short of the line. Andrews crashing over from the resulting play with John Coutts tagging on the extras.

GATESHEAD STORM : Liam Andrews, Daniel Mole, Andrew Morris, Jim Phillips, Pierre Pienaar, Craig Fisher, Reece Young, Jack Doran, Will Bate, Dan Barron, Chris Burnett, Michael Bryan, Neil Emmerson

SUBS (all used): John Coutts, Adam Houston, Sam Spencer, Joe Robinson

HEMEL STAGS: Barry John Swindells, Oliver O’Mara, Jared Searson, Brad Glen, Ashley Fyson, Brendan Williams, Scott Clendenning-Fenton, Eric Grimley, Alex Brown, James Howitt, Michael Crosby, Dean Campbell, John Weber

SUBS (all used): Joseph Compton-Meyer, Connor Boyd-Barnes, Ian Grime, Andy Champ

Gateshead: T: Andrews (38, 78)
G: Coutts (1/2)

Hemel: T: Howitt (4) Swindells (8, 30), Champ (19), Glen (26), Compton-Meyer (47), Grime (72), Searson (74)
G: Swindells (7/8)

Man of the Match:
Storm: Michael Bryan Stags: James Howitt

Referee: Rob Howe

Half Time: 4-28

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