In absolutely atrocious conditions for rugby league at\nGateshead last Saturday, Dungog suffered its first defeat this year, going down\n16-6 to the Zebras. \n\n Torrential rain swept the ground for the majority of the game,\nwith the playing surface resembling a lake during the second half. There were a\nfew experienced ex-players and supporters on the sidelines who struggled to\nrecall a game being played in worse conditions than those the players had to\nendure on the weekend. \n\n Full credit to members of both teams who, despite the\nadverse weather, turned on an enthralling game of rugby league which wasn’t\ndecided until the final minutes. \n\n With the ground already wet at the start of the match and\nsteady rain falling, it was evident that the team that could control the ball\nand maintain good field position would be in the box seat, and to this end it\nwas Dungog who fitted the bill. \n\n Kieran Hinton looked certain to score early on from a well-rehearsed\nmove only to lose the ball over the line. Both teams were hitting hard in\ndefence trying to gain an advantage in the slippery conditions. The Warriors\nspent most of the first 20 minutes in Gateshead’s half but it was the Zebras who\nregistered first points when, on one of the few occasions they were in Dungog’s\nhalf, a cross-field kick resulted in a converted try. \n\n The home team extended its lead to 10 not long after when on\nthe fifth tackle they caught the Warriors’ defence napping as they barged over from\ndummy half. Dungog looked to have cut back the deficit just before the break\nonly for the referee to rule that centre Chris Evans had lost control of the\nball when attempting to score. \n\n The rain that fell before the break was nothing compared to what\nwas delivered during the second half. The field soon started to fill up and by\nthe 60 minute mark you could see more water than grass covering the surface. It\nwas certainly a hard slog for the players and any ground made was hard earned. \n\n Both sides struggled to string a couple of passes together\nbut to their credit the ball control was fairly high considering the\nconditions. \n\n Dungog once again enjoyed the better of the running early in\nthe second half and got on the board courtesy of fullback Lee Nevin. Nevin put\nin a grubber, followed through, kicked the ball again and dived on the ball as\nit floated around in the in goal for a fine individual try. \n\n The Warriors’ cause was helped soon after when the Zebras’\nsecond rower earned the ire of the referee and spent 10 minutes in the bin. \n\n Dungog got its second try for the half to put themselves\nwell and truly back in the contest when Fletcher Celand made one of the few\nbreaks in the game before unloading to Chis Evans to score at the 70th minute. \n\n Lee Nevin had a chance to level the game but his conversion\nattempt was waved away. In his defence he struggled to find a piece of turf\nthat was not under water for his shot at goal. \n\n Gateshead put the game beyond Dungog’s reach just before\nfull time when their lock forward broke through some tired defence to score\nadjacent to the posts. The conversion was successful to have the home team running\nout winners 16-8. \n\n All the Warriors players put in wholehearted efforts on the\nday and when they get together in the future at football reunions and wet\nweather football gets bought up the game at Gateshead is sure to be at the top\nof the list. \n\n RSL Best forward Ash Evans; RSL best back Lee Nevin; Players’\nplayer Kieran Hinton; Rays reserve Tom Windred. \n\n This coming Sunday the Warriors take on Hinton at Bennett\nPark at 2.30pm. The Hinton game also marks Warriors’ forward Scott Fishers\n300th game of all-age for Dungog. \n\n The DRLFC would love to see as many of Scott’s former teammates\nat the game as possible and then back to the Dungog RSL to help celebrate this\namazing achievement which is unlikely to ever be beaten. The committee of the\nWarriors would also like to congratulate Scott on his 300th game and thank him\nfor his years of service to Dungog, both at a senior and junior level. \n\n Well done, Mal. Make sure you enjoy the day.