Castle turned over at Consett
Castle travelled to in-form Consett, a side only been beaten twice on their own patch this season
Castle travelled to in-form Consett, a side only been beaten twice on their own patch this season and bubbling under the promotion positions. There was no doubt it would be a challenging fixture against an outfit keen to avenge the 18-8 defeat inflicted by Barnie down on the Demesnes way back in early October.
Under soft conditions and with a stiff breeze in the Castle faces in the first half, it was soon clear that the game would indeed be a close affair as the game moved up and down the pitch with both sides sustaining pressure for short bursts. Castle probably had the best of the early stages but soon lost Andrew Bell
to a pulled hamstring providing the opportunity of a 1st team debut for Fin Edward. Consett then came back into it and were somewhat fortunate to score a try when they had clearly knocked on.
At 7-0 down Castle then had their best phase in the whole game but were unable to find a lock to get through the strong and well-marshalled Consett defence. Barnie had been camped on the Consett twentytwo metre line for some time when calamity struck in the form of an intercepted pass as the Castle backs pushed hard for a score. The Consett speedster disappeared down the other end at a rate of knots and suddenly Barnie were looking under pressure at 14-0 down as half time arrived.
Castle with the wind at their backs in the second half again started the better with some fine runs from Dan Potts in particular but they continued to struggle to find their way over the line even when the hosts went down to fourteen men. Although the scrums were even, the Barnie lineout, usually an area of dominance, was misfiring which prevented a decent supply of ball down the backline. When the Consett player was yellow carded Sam Errington
did slot over a penalty to temporarily close the gap. However it did not last long as Consett potted one in reply and then Errington grabbed a second before Consett did the same to leave the score at 20-6 as the game headed into the final ten minutes. Most of the game was being played in the midfield area although Chris McTurk and Ali Johnston linked well down the right before the move was snuffed out and Consett obtained a penalty to relieve the pressure. They bulldozed their way back into the Castle half before spinning the ball down the backline. This time the Consett centre stepped inside his man and then did the same to the fullback for a fine individual score under the posts to close out the game.
While this is a setback for Castle, they need to ensure that it is kept in perspective, regain self-belief and show the quality they undoubtedly possess when they travel to Novocastrians this Saturday.
With the games in hand now all played and only four league games remaining they remain in second place five points adrift of Northern and on equal points with Westoe but having won two more games. There are still some challenging fixtures left for all the sides not least a mouth-watering final league game where Castle host Westoe on the Demesnes. One for the diary !