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1st XV - Match centre

Sat 8 Apr 15:00 - Northern Division - Durham & Northumerland 1 Full time


Youth policy paying off.

With the exception of Johnny Thandi & Mark Bentham all regular forwards were off for various reasons. So in came Ollie O’Connor(18) for his debut at prop, David Shand brought of his box to partner Jack Johnson(18) in the second row. Skipper Martyn Heelbeck was at 7 with Scott Wilczek(18) on the other flank making his 1st team debut with Drew Carr brought at 8 to look after his 3rd team/Development boys.
Chris Owen at 9 with Alun Barlow at 10. Matty Banning in the centre with the experienced David Tate. Adam Ridley(17) on one wing with Nathan Turner(17) on the other making his 1st team debut too. Scott Cartner at full back. On the bench we had Matty Cooper(18), Ross Craig(17) and John Kelley.
Although Ryton are suffering this season you know you will get a hard game with their boys giving their all so there was no room for complacency especially with all the changes. Warm greetings by our Ryton counterparts for a pint in the sunshine before the game. Gateshead to kick downhill first half.
Gateshead straight onto the attack down the hill after a good take from the kick off by Jack Johnson and after 6 minutes Scott Cartner came into the line and passed to Adam Ridley to go in for the score, converted from wide out by Scott. 7-0.
Same kick off taken by Jack and a few phases of play saw Nathan Turner pick up a loose ball beat the defence and score his debut try for the first team. The smile on his face was worth going to Ryton for just for that! Converted by Scott. 14-0.
Now I don’t know if the lads thought the game was won and took their foot of the pedal or Ryton upped their game. Probably a bit of both but the game went flat with a good number of stoppages for injury. Also it was hot out there just standing watching so it must have been boiling on the pitch! Chris Owen made a fabulous break out of defence with a 2 on 1 with Martyn Heelbeck next to him. Caught in two minds he didn’t pass and was tackled. Fine coming there I think!
Just before half time Gateshead moved the ball from their own 22 with Scott Cartner beating a man on the outside and off he went. Nathan Turner went off in support convinced he was going to get a pass from Scott. Now as mentioned earlier Scott had already given a try scoring pass so the chances of giving another were remote to say the least and Scott Finished his break with a superb try. Valuable lesson for young Mr Turner! Converted by Scott 21-0 at half time.
John Kelley was already on for Shandy and then Shandy came back on for Drew Carr who said he had done his back in trying to lift Shandy in the line out! Four minutes in and a break out of defence again saw Matty Banning scorch away for a try converted by Scott, 28-0.
Gateshead fluffed the kick off and Ryton had a good spell of attack and scored a well deserved try. Matty Cooper and Ross Craig came on for their 1st team debuts and got stuck in. Johnny Thandi was off so John Kelley went to prop as well. Ryton kept the pressure on and nearly scored again but after 27 minutes another break out saw Matty Banning run the whole length of the pitch to score, converted by Scott. 35-5.
The match was finished off by Scott Cartner who raced away for his second, converted 42-5.
So with all the changes a great result. We finished the game with seven lads 18 and under on the pitch. Fantastic and a testament to the hard work of the youth section and our development team boys of Graeme Kell & Ian Leonard!
Well Matty Banning & Scott Cartner were too much for Ryton. Adam Ridley, the ‘old hand’ of the youngsters did well on the wing and Nathan Turner looks a natural. Although out of position on the wing he coped very well indeed. Not only in attack but tackled well and on more than one occasion tidied up the mess his elders made.
Scott Wilczek put in a lot of hard work and bodes well for the future. Jack Johnson had some good strong runs and when he moved from the second row to the back row the scrum suffered a little. For me the hardest debut to make at first team is in the front row and Ollie O’Connor did very well. At 18 to play against older guys in the front row can be very daunting but he took it in his stride. To have had two different 18 year olds playing at prop this season is fantastic.
When Matty Cooper & Ross Craig came on they also made a very good impression despite it being difficult to get into a game more than half way through. So well done the bairns and the not so young bairns as well! They are all bairns to an old gadgie like me but it makes me and the other oldies very proud to see the lads coming through.
Ryton are relegated but they have had some serious injury and availability problems. They like us this year will be in a position to blood some youngsters next season and I hope they can regroup and come straight back up as we need our local clubs to be with us in this league. Good luck to them in that quest.

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Other Durham & Northumerland 1 results



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League table

# Team Pl Pts
1. Northern 26 106
2. South Shields Westoe 26 100
3. Barnard Castle 26 94
4. Consett 26 78
5. Middlesbrough 26 74
6. Horden 26 72
7. Gateshead 26 67


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