Wallsend 7, Newton Aycliffe 1st XI 21
Newton Aycliffe Rugby Club First XV were crowned champions of Durham Northumberland 3 with a win over Wallsend.
Aycliffe 1st XV travelled to Wallsend RFC needing the win to take the top spot and be crowned champions of DN3.
Aycliffe arrived at Wallsend’s new pitch set up early and put in a solid warm up in advance of kick off. Aycliffe began the game, kicking down the sprawling Wallsend pitch, and applying the pressure in defence from the off and forcing errors from the home side, which Ayclffe capitalised on, taking the first chance for points on two minutes, Captain Alex Lineton slotting it for three.
The following period saw possession pass between the two sides, as neither defence looked like giving, however, wing-come-centre James Thacker taking the first chance which came his way, rushing out to take an interception from a delayed pass, and charging down field to cross. The try was converted by Lineton, taking the visitors ten points to the good.
Aycliffe once more made tracks into the Wallsend half, but failed to turn their territory into points, despite Thacker striking once more with a well-timed grubber through, which he then grounded. However, the ref was not in a position to see it, and was unable to award the try.
The pressure remained on Wallsend, which told again three minutes before half time, with Lineton again electing for posts, and taking the visitors a further three points clear.
The second half began with Aycliffe loosely taking a restart, and finding themselves on the back foot, a position the home side quickly took advantage of, crossing for their first try on fourty-one minutes, which they converted, bringing them back to within striking distance of Aycliffe.
The visitors then reapplied the pressure, forging once more into the Wallsend half, pressure which again told, as a penalty was awarded and three more points added to the Aycliffe tally.
The passage of play from the restart saw the home side set up camp in the Aycliffe twenty-two, but in what could be a metaphor for their entire season, Aycliffe’s defence held and held and held, eventually forcing the error, scrummaging well and retaking possession.
This possession was immediately rewarded as flying wing Jon McGuigan seared up the left side of the pitch, crossing to put the visitors out of reach of Wallsend, and in reach of a bonus point. The bonus point eluded Aycliffe, as a strong performance from Wallsend held until the final whistle.
This win saw Newton Aycliffe 1st XV win Durham Northumberland 3 for the first time, and secure promotion for the first time in thirteen years as the 1st XV move up into Durham Northumberland 2 as champions.
The weekend was made even more special, as Newton Aycliffe 2nd XV – the Newtonians, were also confirmed as champions of their league, on only their second year of formation after a fourteen-year hiatus, and their first year in the league.
This season’s successes have come off the back of a lot of hard work both on and off the pitch, and the club would like to take this opportunity to thank all the players and backroom staff who have contributed to this.
The season’s successes will be celebrated on the 22nd April at the Club’s home ground on Moore Lane, and will feature both XVs playing, with the Newtonians playing first before the 1st XV play their final league match against Jarrow.
There will be drinks available on the touchline, and the exceptional BBQ Cab Co. will be on site with a range of Gourmet BBQ street food available for purchase.