Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Skipper Evans to Appeal after Seeing Red in Defeat; RUGBY UNION

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Skipper Evans to Appeal after Seeing Red in Defeat; RUGBY UNION

Article excerpt

Byline: Andrew Wilkinson Sports writer andrew.wilkinson@eveninggazette.co.uk

NOT guilty - that's the claim of Billingham skipper Joe Evans who will appeal against the first red card of his career.

The experienced fly-half, who has a good disciplinary record, was sent off for allegedly throwing a punch in his side's 36-7 home defeat to high flying Stockport in National Three North.

Evans reacted when one of his teammates, lying off the pitch - was pinned down by an opponent.

The skipper said: "My role as a senior player is to look after the lads. I tried to get the Stockport player off our lad. The referee said I threw a punch, but I didn't. I would admit it if I had.

"I will appeal straight away.

It's my first ever red and I hope my last."

Stockport received a yellow for the incident, and got the breaks for much of the match, as Billingham had three players sin-binned, while a string of contentious penalty decisions went against them.

Billingham were penalised time and again for not retreating, when Stockport appeared to escape unpunished for similar offences.

But even more frustrating for the home side was the number of times they had penalties awarded against them when trying to contain a strong Stockport scrum. Evans explained: "We felt Stockport were stepping across and wheeling the scrum. The ref said we were turning it which is why he kept giving penalties against us.

"It was hard for us to attack. And when we got the ball we couldn't do anything with it. Stockport are well drilled, know their strengths and played to them."

While Stockport deserved to win, nothing went for the hosts, and Evans was proud of their resilience and spirit, Stockport getting away only in the later stages.

"We stuck at it and the scoreline was tough on us. We didn't drop our heads and played to the end, even with 14 men. …

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