This weekend sees a real party atmosphere at Novos with 4 senior sides playing on Saturday with a pre match demonstration by the junior section and the ladies and juniors in action on Sunday!
Centre Stage this week is on the traditional fixture between Novos 1st XV and our long time rivals Gosforth for the Ringtons Tea Cup. Its a great thing that in this day of modern professional rugby (Even at our level players are getting a wage at some clubs) that old rivalries and friendships can be renewed as in the good old days. Gosforth, like us are a strictly amateur set up, players are not paid and though relations between the clubs have warmed in recent years, both sides like nothing better than having the bragging rights that the Ringtons Cup entitles the owner to. Despite the cup being mainly at Druid Park for most of the last decade - it currently resides at Novos thanks to last seasons win in the monsoon season!
Pre-match entertainment will be provided when Novos/Gosforth minis take part in a demonstration match with mixed teams.
Gosforth have enjoyed a much better start to the season than Novos so far lying in 5th place and having enjoyed 4 wins from the opening 6 games and giving Gateshead something to think about in the 2nd half when they played last week. The likes of Joe Woodhams, Chris Morris and Matty Gaynor give them a powerful pack, whilst a backline with the likes of Mike Jurowski and Adam Ainley are always a handful out wide.
Novos are returning to near full strength and Mo Finlay returns to the front row along with Dave Curry and Gavin Evans, Eddy Yuill retains his place in the 2nd row whilst Paul Henderson's back row appearance is short lived as he returns alongside him. Ben Merrett is at openside, Jamie Wallace is back at Blindside and Alex Littlefair replaces the unavailable Andy Borthwick at number 8.
Richie Mitchell's 5 week travel plans mean that there are changes to the backline for the 1st time in 4 games. Andy Maxwell is at scrum half, Dan Bollado at stand off, Joe Moore is reunited with Richie Lamb in the centres while Shaun Stewart and Luke Mitchell are retained at wing and full back respectively. Ben Adcock is also named on the wing following a scintillating run of form in the 2nd team thats has seen him bag 7 tries in four games.
The bench is Rory Clarke, Chris Fife and Andy Rickaby
Other games in the league this weekend
Ashington v Alnwick
Darlington v Wallsend
Gateshead v Stockton
Ponteland v Horden
Redcar v Medicals
Ryton V Sunderland
The 2nds who impressed many last week winning 62 - 5 against Rockliffe, again welcome a team from the coast as North Shields provide friendly opposition in preparation for next weeks top of the table clash with Gateshead.
James Forbes is once again absent, so Dave Addison fills in as skipper from prop with John Addison hooking and Gus Graham who drops down from the 1st team. Mark Vaudrey makes his penultimate appearance in a Novos shirt before his move to Belfast and Glenn Fife is alongside in the 2nd row. Clive Carlin returns to the back row with Michael Mitten and Andy Gardiner.
The backline that caused Rockliffe all kinds of problems last week is largely maintained, Mark Young, Si Dickinson, Chris Gray, Mitchell Hendricks, Jamie Diggle and Andy Moses all retained but Ben Adcocks place on the wing goes to Stew Wilson returning from injury.
The bench is Andy Holleyhead, Sean Lightfoot and Adam Longstaff.
The 3rds are also at home against Morpeth Stags, hoping to bounce back from a tough defeat to Percy Park last week. With Pitchford broken and Vice Captain Wilson also on the treatment table. The 3rds will look to the experience of Jimmy Desmond, Pete Douthwaite and Gus Walker to give the side a lift.
The Centurians,fresh from an unlucky loss to North Shields travel to Seghill to play the Deputies and Ian Pratt is hoping to pull together a squad despite lots of injuries and people away.
The Ladies travel to Morpeth on Sunday to take them on at Mitford Road and are hoping to secure a 2nd victory in the league.
After all that its Quiz Night at Novos on Saturday and dont forget the cheese and wine next Sunday!!