HORDEN’S unbeaten 2013 Durham Northumberland One 18-game run is over.
The Colliery side had not lost in the league since a 23-16 defeat at Gosforth on December 15, 2012.
But Durham City’s victory at Welfare Park has ended the sequence, though Glenn Bowman’s side remain second in the table.
Horden were well below par on Saturday though there was frustration of a number of penalty decisions going against them.
“It was a really disappointing performance from us,” said Bowman.
“We were not helped by a referee that consistently penalised us in the scrums despite being the totally dominant pack.
“Don’t get wrong, we didn’t deserve to win the game.
“We played badly and our error count was through the roof.
“But the inconsistency of refereeing at this level is a constant source of frustration.
“It seems that you’re playing to a different interpretation of the laws every week.
“When the opposition fans are embarrassed by some of the decisions being made you know there’s something wrong.”
Horden started poorly and conceded three penalties in as many minutes.
Consequently, the collierymen struggled get out of their own half.
Even though City had the majority of the possession, Horden defended well and City had to be content with a penalty to take a 3-0 lead.
However, a good counter-attack from Craig Jones and David Heckles put young winger Cameron Stables away out wide, only to be hauled down 10 metres short.
But Horden failed to retain possession and lost the opportunity.
It was symptomatic of the day.
And when a knock-on in the home 22 gave City possession on the half-hour, the away centre cut back and got through some weak tackling to go under the posts to make it 10-0.
Horden finally started to get hold of the ball in the City half and put some patterns together.
And from a scrum on the left hand side of the pitch, Horden broke into midfield and after a number of phases, winger Stables picked up at the back of a ruck and nipped through to score. Jones added the conversion
Shortly afterwards, Horden should have taken the lead.
Paul James made a great break through the middle and with the defenders pulled in, Horden had numbers free on the right only to go left and spilled a long pass.
However, Jones did make it 10-10 with a penalty just before half-time.
Horden started better in the second half, playing the ball behind Durham in the greasy conditions and forcing them to play their way out of their own territory.
The referee then appeared to signal a penalty to Horden but played advantage for a couple of phases before awarding City a scrum, much to the annoyance of the home camp.
A similar incident happened five mins later but this time the penalty was reversed after the official ruled a use of the shoulder in the tackle, even though Horden were the team in possession.
Had Horden had the opportunity to kick those penalties the game could have been different.
Instead, penalties at the scrum handed scoring opportunities to City.
Durham kicked two to make it 16-10 while a third penalty attempt hit the post and bounced to safety.
Worse was to follow.
As Horden tried to clear the danger, a loose pass was thrown behind the try line and a City player managed to get a hand on it to make it 23-10.
There was still had 20 minutes to play so there was plenty of time to score,
But it seemed the harder Horden tried, the worse they played, as they continued to lose the ball and hand possession back to their visitors.
“We could have played until today and still not scored,” shrugged Bowman.
“City deserved the win because they made few mistakes and held onto the ball better.
“We need to have a good look in the mirror and address the areas where we were poor on Saturday -and there was a few of those.
“We’ve got a difficult game down at Guisborough this Saturday so we need a big week at training to get ourselves ready for that.”
Other results: Bishop Auckland 13 Novos 38; Gosforth 24 Consett 35; Medicals 38 Gateshead 25; Ponteland 14 Darlington 27; Stockton 15 Guisborough 7.