Thursday, 28 June 2012

Look Out Here Come: Gateshead

Filtrona Park yesterday:
almost exactly like the Bernabeu

Why aye, let's howay to Gateshead, man. Or, more specifically, Filtrona Park in South Shields - home of South Shields Mariners (not to be mistaken for the Hunter Mariners, though both are close to Newcastle).

After a promising start - and a decent showing at Spotland earlier in the season - Gateshead have seen normal service resumed and sunk like a rock to the bottom of Championship 1. 

Thunder have now gone 57 matches since their last win against London Skolars in March 2010. Having shipped an average of 45 points per game, the currently winless Thunder have two bonus points to show for the first half of the season and come to Sunday's game on the back of a brutal 78-6 flogging by Doncaster.

Beleaguered coach Kevin Neighbour wasn't happy: "I felt we let ourselves down… the lads worked hard over the last couple weeks on the back of a much improved performance against Barrow. Looking back the weekend off was no good for us at all. We now have consecutive games which we can work on week to week. I'm sure everyone will hold their hands up for all the things we didn't do…"

Kev's honest analysis was that it was: "… a very harsh lesson learnt and it's time to put things right for next week's challenge of Rochdale."

Indeed, the game poses challenges for Hornets too. Sunday sees Oldham travel to fourth placed Whitehaven, and a win for either party there makes a win at Gateshead absolutely essential if Hornets are to stay in touch with the leading pack.

A healthy win for Hornets and defeat for Oldham would open up a bit of daylight behind and put us in the box seat in the chase for fourth. But a win for Oldham would draw Whitehaven closer - making a win even more imperative. And with Oldham stariing to slip in the points-difference column a convincing Hornets win at Gateshead would make a big difference.

Buoyed by the fantastic win at Whitebank, this is a road-trip well worth making to give the lads a boost. So fill yer car, get up the A1 and let's get behind the lads.

Reports today that the North East has suffered heavy rain and flooding in some parts, but forecasts for the next few days and the weekend look much better.