The first team travel to 11th placed Acklam on Saturday in fine confidence after Saturday's comfortable victory over Barnard Castle. Although there are a few changes as Euan Duncan's cameo off the bench has earned him a starting spot and we give a debut to Alex Cleminson. Alex has been getting great reports from his 2nd team appearances and is given an opportunity to show that he can make the next step in his development. In the backs, Tom Winning has returned to the centres after staying in Nottingham an extra week.
Whilst we are in good form this fixture must be seen as a potential banana skin if the previous fixture is to go by. Novos had run the score up to 38-14 and looked in total control until Acklam changed their tactics. Acklam score 19 points in the last 20 mins to make the final score 38-33. We will have to avoid such a purple patch for our opponents on this occasion.
We smashed into Barnard Castle's scrum on Saturday and the same trio - Josh Stacey, Daniel Shuttleworth and Pete Twentyman have been selected to try and provide a stable platform for us to attack off. In behind them will be the enthusiastic Euan Duncan who will bolster the scrum battle. The line out was one our biggest assets on Saturday as Chris Ward and new signing Darren Kelly formed an immediate bond. In the loose, county U20 Adam McDonald will look to cover every inch the back alongside Alex Cleminson on debut.
The back line only sees one change as Tom Winning returns from his xmas spell with Paviors RFC. He forms a well balanced centre partnership with out top try scorer Sam Busby.
The back three has great balance with the kicking skills of Shaun Stewart, running ability of Ben Wollerton and Tim Hart who is starting to cement a regular first team spot. They will be marshalled around the field by Christian Selkirk and Old Novocastrian Lewis Chater.
The finishers are Zach Weaherhead who brings energy and enthusiasm off the bench and Nick Bellamy who has shown great attacking ability against tiring defences.
We look forward to a big away challenge and are determined to finish January unbeaten and having cemented a top six spot.
First XV away at Acklam 1415 - Josh Stacey, Daniel Shuttleworth, Pete Twentyman, Chris Ward, Euan Duncan, Adam McDonald, Alex Cleminson, Darren Kelly, Christian Selkirk, Lewis Chater, Shaun Stewart, Tom Winning, Sam Busby, Tim Hart, Ben Wollerton, Zach Weatherhead, Nick Bellamy.
Second XV home to Boro 1400 - Ollie Dearden, Paddy Goodings, Luke Menzfeld, Kit Sorenson, Ian Pratt, Mark Leckie, Chris Law, Neil Smith, Billy Porter, Greg Humphreyson, James Bass, Jonny Winterhalder, Ben Kelly, Jonny Bulfin, David Marshall, Gus Graham, Shaun O'Connell, Justin Taylor and Stephen Hughes-Narborough
Third XV at West End 1415 - Jonny Walker, Ant McQuillan, John Watson, Andy Gardiner, Nat Day, Rhys Gibbons, Ben Silk, Alan Pitchford, Stephen Wood, Jack Pellew, Josh Kauffman, Charlie Willis, Matt Bradford, Nick Moss, Hayden Williamson, Alex Milton, Michael Stowe
Fourth XV home to Blyth at 1415 - James Forbes, Stevie Thompson, Paul Sanderson, Jack Shanahan, Chris Brown, Rob Reid, Ryan crown, Will Patrick, Jonny Lowes, Will Evans, Ross Glasper, Pete Jones, Luke Mitchell, Nathan Dent, Paul Fitch, Chris Thompson, Nathan Harap, Rich Zabrocki, Francis Eze, Iain Kane, Col Tristam, David Sears