Newton Aycliffe 67, Hartlepool Boys Brigade Old Boys 3
After not playing a single game in 2016 and the last game being pre-Christmas, Newton Aycliffe’s first team found themselves at home to Hartlepool BBOB last Saturday.
The pitch at Moore Lane like the majority of rugby fields in Durham and Northumberland had suffered from an excess amount of surface water, even up until Friday afternoon another heavy down pour could have put the game in jeopardy.
After weeks of training in gyms and on the Greenfield School 3G pitch the Aycliffe boys were gagging for a game. Unbelievably the pitch looked fantastic even with the odd dubious looking pitch markings but hey ho the game was on and everybody was happy except for centre Chris Richards who pulled his hamstring in the last run through before kick off. After a few minor alteration wing forward Matty Wiper started on the wing Dom Ridley played centre and Paul O’Donnell came off the bench to join the back row.
For the first ten minutes of the game Aycliffe were in total disarray the top of the league side were totally clueless.
BBOB were awarded a penalty under the posts and they took a three nil lead. The large home crowd (swollen in numbers by football supporter sneaking in for a free look at a proper men’s game prior to their football kicking off) appeared to become very anxious, their nerves were settled as the boys settled into a purple patch of quality rugby.
From the restart Aycliffe took charge of the game and began to dominate every aspect of the game. The scrummage which had previously been a problem area became a great source of good ball so much so hooker Jamie Whelan and his forwards colleagues were winning ball against the head constantly.
Aycliffe’s ball handling was an absolute delight to watch the interplay between forwards and backs was incredible. NARUFC began to create try scoring opportunities which was obviously going to happen with that amount of quality possession Dom Ridley making his home debut was first to cross the line then Adam Gascoigne followed closely by Niall Kelly.
The crowd barley had chance to catch their collective breath when more tries were scored Matty “The Winger” Wiper crossed the line twice Warren Parsonage and his better looking twin brother Gareth each scored tries.
The 1st XV scored a total of seven quality tries in a thirty minute period and James Cocks even managed to convert three of his kicks.
Half time: 41-3
Peter Ryans (Head Coach) half time talk encouraged the boys to continue in the same manner and to try and out into place all the ideas they had worked on for weeks in training.
The boys appeared to be up for more of the same in the second period. The domination continued for a further twenty minutes, Dom Ridley completed his hat trick of tries and then scored another (four in total) Adam Gascoigne scored his second and converted two kicks and James Cocks also kicked a conversion.
The final twenty minutes was a disappointment for the crowd and home players alike. Aycliffe could do nothing right in the eyes of the referee and this helped BBOB turn their game around.
The Hartlepool team showed a great deal of character and in particular their scrum half fought for every inch of territory.
They gave a very good account of themselves and hopefully this positive attitude will help them for the rest of the season. In this final period Aycliffe showed a real quality in defence the tacking by the back row and in particular Shaun Tomlinson was excellent.
The last few minutes of the game were camped deep into the home sides 22metre area but the resolute defending kept BBOB at bay.
Final Score 67 – 3
NARUFC may at the begin of the game have looked a little ring rusty but quality skills and commitment brought a fantastic array of superb tries a total of eleven, grit, determination and big tackles kept BBOB from crossing the line. All in all a great day for the home side.