Castle off and running with away win at Horden and Peterlee
Castle took to the field in blazing sunshine on the NE coast against traditionally bulky opponents to get their league campaign off and running.
Castle took to the field in blazing sunshine on the NE coast against traditionally bulky opponents to get their league campaign off and running. A number of changes during the close season saw the departure of Chris Wearmouth to coach at Tynedale but also some new signings. The game saw debut league starts for lock Callum Burke
and James Allison
at hooker. Early season injuries to front row also saw an unusual start for 49 year old 2nd team stalwart, ex-Hull Ionians prop Richard Welsby
The game started well for Castle immediately playing the game in the Horden half and trying to find chinks in their defensive armour using ‘Big Mac’ McConnell’s bulk to try and batter a hole. After ten minutes Castle made the most of a lineout just inside the Horden twenty-two and it fell nicely to McConnell who barged his way through to the line for the first score of the game. Sam Errington
put the conversion over on a perfect day for the kickers.
From the restart it wasn’t long before Castle were pressuring on the twenty-two again and the home backs were caught offside. Sam Errington
’s long-range penalty kick sailed beautifully between the sticks and Barnie were 0-10 up as the game moved into the second quarter.
Horden then got into the game and Castle conceded a penalty themselves for hands in the ruck and the score closed to 3-10.
The reduced deficit didn't last long though. Errington, using well-judged line kicks for the corners, pinned the opposition back. Once more caught offside Horden conceded another penalty in front of their posts; a bread-and-butter kick for Errington.
The remainder of the half was even-stevens as the game flowed between the two twenty-two metre lines. The most exciting event was an outbreaks of handbags at dawn resulting in Rob Stanwix
and the Horden skipper having ten minutes in the ‘cooler’.
Either side of half time, Castle were hit with injury blows as first McConnell and then Allison left the field to injuries. This led to a first team debut for lock Alex Thomas
and Curtis Brunell
only recently returned from injury entered the fray, leaving initially Joe Larder
and then Rob Stanwix
to try their hand at swinging a leg in the scrum, while skipper Mike Hughes had a stab at throwing in.
Unsurprisingly these changes disrupted Castle’s rhythm somewhat and as they tried to stabilise the scrum and lineout, Horden put together their best flowing rugby and scored out wide on the right to close to 8-13. With only one score in it, Barnie were pleased to see the Horden nine penalised for coming round early and again Errington potted the goal.
From the restart kick, Bowler confidently received the ball and side-stepped through the initial challenges. Quick ball down the back line saw Errington snipe before throwing a sumptuous long pass to Miles Brookes
coming into the line from fullback. He seared down the pitch and with winger Jack Rowlandson
outside him, would have surely provided a try-scoring pass had the Horden fullback not deliberately knocked the pass on. Castle would have liked to have seen a yellow-card and a penalty try but only got the former.
After the penalty kick for the corner, Horden defended the resultant lineout surge but another lovely-judged crosskick from Errington was sent spiralling to waiting winger Lucas Summers
. Lucas in acres of space and standing on the tryline buckled under the pressure and spilt the ball forward. Two excellent try-scoring chances had gone begging in as many minutes. Fortuately from the resultant scrum, the continuous-motion flanker that is Jack Marston
was up quickly to charge down the attempted clearance kick over the Horden line and was first to reclaim it as it descended from the heavens to dot down and secure the game for Castle 8-23.
All in all a good outing for Castle after a disrupted warm-up schedule in August. An away win is always handy and some of the play was superb. The coming week will see another challenge away as they travel to league new-boys Acklam.
Joint men of the match were adjudged to be Richard Welsby
who managed a full eighty minutes and Jack Marston
for outstanding play all afternoon. DOTD was awarded to Lucas Summers