Barney pipped in dramatic promotion cliff-hanger
Barney travelled to fellow promotion contenders Consett missing a few key players from their magnificent mid-week victory at top of the table Durham City.
Barney travelled to fellow promotion contenders Consett missing a few key players from their magnificent mid-week victory at top of the table Durham City. Nursing battered and bruised bodies from their efforts at Hollow Drift, Barney needed to rally themselves to produce another match-winning performance against a side which had enjoyed a much easier time of it in mid-week.
Castle started well and put early pressure on the Consett line without managing to trouble the scoreboard. It was Consett though who got the scoreboard ticking over when an overthrow at a Barney lineout was seized upon by a Consett flanker who crashed over for the try. With the conversion missed Barney trailed 5-0.
Consett soon extended their lead to 8-0 with an easy penalty and were beginning to look as if they would dominate, but Castle came back at them in the last few minutes of the half, as the pack, with Rob Stanwix
, Chris Wearmouth
and Mikey Hughes to the fore, began to exert massive pressure on the Consett line.
Finally the pressure paid off as Barney roared back into the game through an amazing catch and drive from the Consett 22 metre line. Barney gathered the lineout comfortably and rolled remorselessly towards the try-line until Chris Wearmouth
deservedly touched down to secure the points. The tricky conversion was potted by Greg Upton
to close the gap to 8-7 at the interval.
The opening to the second half was evenly contested, but a period of Consett pressure saw George Welsby
emerge from the loose with the ball. The referee felt that something untoward had taken place and awarded Consett the penalty in front of the posts and sent Welsby to the sin-bin for 10 minutes. This proved to be the turning-point of the game as, with Castle reduced to 14 men, Consett were able to take full advantage.
It didn’t take Consett long to exploit their extra numbers, as from the penalty they spread the ball wide and the left winger was able to touch down in the top corner. With the conversion missed Consett now led 13-7.
Soon Consett were able to extend their lead further as another penalty saw the ball fed to the right winger in similar fashion and he dotted down the score to extend the lead to 20-7 with the conversion successful.
Barney had paid a heavy price for the yellow card and would have been forgiven for running up the white flag of surrender at this point, but with Welsby restored to the ranks and Coach Junior entering the fray they were not about to give up.
As the second half progressed Barney’s pack drove remorselessly at their opponents, but resolute Consett defence kept the visitors at bay. Once again, however, a tremendous catch and drive from a lineout on the Consett 22 saw Castle rumble ominously again through Consett territory, with backs joining the party to add fresh impetus to the drive the juggernaut steamed over the Consett line enabling scrum half Harvey Barkes
to claim the try. The conversion by Upton narrowed the score to 20-14 with about 10 minutes remaining. Game on!
It was all Barney in the final few minutes as the clock ticked-down and frustratingly wave after wave of Castle attacks on the Consett line were repelled by tremendous home defence.
Surely Barney would score? Unfortunately, the answer was ‘no’ as Consett resistance saw a desperate Barney spread the ball wide and a knock-on gave possession to Consett, who were finally able to boot the ball into touch to end the game, much to the relief of the home players and spectators.
This was a terrific, full-blooded encounter and a great advert for rugby in Durham and Northumberland Division 1. Sadly, Barney are now reliant on the efforts of others if they are to secure a play-off spot for promotion with the runners-up in Yorkshire 1 and they must also gain bonus point victories in their two remaining fixtures away at Gosforth and Guisborough.
Whatever happens this has been another tremendous season for Barney and their efforts this week in battling fatigue, bruises, aches and pains demonstrated the sheer grit and determination and never say die spirit that the whole squad possesses.