2nd XV - Report
|Novos 2nds||68||vs||7||Consett 2nds|
Novos 2nds welcomed Consett to Sutherland Park on the big pitch needing a bonus point win to win the River Aln league - They got it in emphatic style!
Novos were missing many of the regular star performers from this season, Matt Miles, Sam Dixon, Pete Douthwaite, Martin Blight, Dale Raine and Mike Williams from the pack and in the backs both Rich Harrison and and Si Dickinson were missing along with midfield talisman Chris Donabie.
Thankfully Saul Shanahan was available to step in to the number 10 shirt and Jack Watkins and Dan Bollado formed a a powerful centre partnership.
Novos signalled there intentions early in the game by moving the ball around, an early break by skipper Jamie Diggle took Novos into Consetts half and as Consett gave away the penalty from a breakdown offence Shanahan belted the penalty into touch where the lineout was taken easily by Gardiner and Novos drove over to score through Clive Carlin for a solid 5 pointer. Within munutes the score was doubled when a superb steal from Bollado in the tackle sent Novos back on the attack allowing a ruck to be set up in Consett's half and great hands from the backs gave Dave Marshall the space to get over for another score, This time Shanahan added the extras.
Consett were aggressive as ever and certainly contributed to an entertaining game and went close to scoring but Novos defence was equal to all that was thrown at them and broke again to add a further score for Welsh wizard Jack Watkins!
The half continued at break neck pace and Consett who never gave up could not live with Novos attacking pace and it wasnt long before a fitting try for skipper Jamie Diggle blasted over to earn the bonus point that would give Novos the title before half time.
The second half went much the same way as the first, Jonathan Smith scoring his first Novos try following a strong break, Jack Watkins added a second, as did skipper Diggle before a yellow card to Jack Watkins for a strong tackle... (Alain Rolland red carding Sam Warburton in the world cup has much to answer for!) The tackle was fair Jack picked the player up and put him down, backwards, safely and on his back, at no time did the players legs go above his head, It looks like this type of tackle is getting swiftly outlawed in the game which is a shame.. Rugby is a contact sport, if you cant handle it play Football or touch rugby! - it was a superb technical hit. Consett wanted a red card which was ridiculous as even the yellow card was a folly.
Consett briefly took advantage of the extra man to score a try - their endeavours deserved it to be fair, but from then Novos were in total control, Substitute Chris Peverill was next to score before Watkins reinstatement saw him complete his brace and Jamie Diggle completed his hat trick with an arm raised showboating celebration much to the abject disgust of his team mates!!
Sam Macgregor was unlucky not to take the score into the 70s with the youngster stopped just short before the ref drew close to the game with Novos winning 68 - 7 and with it ensuring the river Aln league title was on its way to Novos for the first time - from the inception of the county leagues Novos 2nds started in division 4 (Now known as Derwent) and won each league over the years before this years triumph in the top county league. Novos will accept promotion into the UBS Candy leagues where some seriously quality opposition lies in wait next year.
This was an excellent performance by Novos, even Glenn Fife was well behaved - his place as naughty boy was taken By Clive Carlin! Lots of lads put their hands up for man of the match - but skipper Jamie Diggles hat trick earned him the accolade despite his soccer style celebration antics!
Mention must be made of the sterling chase made by Gateshead, who since losing to Novos before Christmas went on an astonishing run, including beating Novos at Eastwood Gardens a few weeks ago and have never given up on the title chase, the greens, as they call themselves made us work every inch for the title and were worthy opponents, they are desperately unlucky not to have won the league and accounted for Sunderland meaning that this victory was very necessary - They have a big cup final game next week against Blaydon and we hope they can get something out of their season because Jason and his team deserve some silverware for their efforts this season.
But it is Novos who are champions, in a tough season for the club, the 2nds have been superb and are deserving of the success they have had this term - Ashington next week will surely be out to spoil the party and Novos will need to be on their mettle against a side who will be dangerous but Novos will be keen to close their season with a win before the end of season party at Novos.