After having 28 players available for last week's final we had also named a large squad for this game. Unfortunately no fewer than 10 of those named on Thursday night either cried off or failed to show up. Some with excuses more credible than others. The most unusual was that Tony Ross's girlfriend surprised him with a weekend away and he surprised us by not telling us. We did however persuade a watching Dave Storey to turn out out and had use of named 1st XV sub Liam Wood for the first half before he went over to The Friarage - where he was sin binned.
For the game itself Mowden were clearly the better side and outscored us 10 tries to 1. Absolutely full credit to all our lads though who never gave up and kept going right to the end. Perhaps a special mention is warranted to our more, ahem, experienced players who definitely didn't expect to have to play 80 minutes in the hottest Saturday of the year. Well done to Grandy, Davy Carroll, Finbar and captain Mark Power. Also grateful thanks to those injured players who would have normally have come off but with no subs available kept going to the end. Thank you Kieran Wright and Scott Buttery. To use a phrase in vogue on West's website they were down but not out. Davy Carroll scored our try (for the second game running) and Dave Storey became the 87th player to pull on a Heughers shirt this season.
R Harrison, Wright, Coutts, Grand, Swallow, Rochester, M Stephenson, L Saunders, Monaghan, Carroll, Healey, Power (c), Addison, Buttery, Wood (Storey)
There is an interesting twist regarding our opponents. Mowden 2nds were apparently expected at Billingham yesterday for the 2nd XV cup final but didn't show up. Now the cup final is shown as being next week on the county website so who knows what went on but I wonder if the Mowden 3rds team (who fully deserved their win) would have been as strong if their 2nds had played though?
Final game of the season is next week. It is away and not as shown on the fixture list. Our league position is unknown but it will be the highest we have finished in the Candy League. Other significant games next week with our top 4 rivals are Westoe are at home to Barney and in the game of the day Mowden play Acklam.