2017/18 League tables for National Two North, Candy and Northumberland






CANDY 1  (12 team) CANDY 2 (12 team) ALN LEAGUE (12 team)
Alnwick 2

Blaydon Georgians

Billingham 2

Darlington Mowden Park 2

Gateshead 2

Middlesbrough 2

Morpeth Reivers

Northern Wanderers

Novos 2

Percy Park Lions

Tynedale Raiders

West Hartlepool 2

Acklam 2

Barnard Castle 2

Bishop Auckland 2

Consett 2

Durham City 2

Darlington Mowden Park 3

Hartlepool 2 (NEW team)

Hartlepool Rovers 2

Horden and Peterlee 2

Medicals 2

Stockton 2

Westoe 2

Alnwick Lions

Ashington 2

Blaydon Development

Corbridge Centurions

Gateshead 3

Gosforth Phoenix

Morpeth Edwardians

Novos 3

Ponteland 2

Ryton 2

Sunderland 2

Whitley Bay Rockcliff Vikings





Berwick Bears

Blaydon Bricks

Morpeth Stags

Northern Panthers

Percy Park Pumas

West End

Winlaton Vulcans Saxons

Northumbria University Team (Jack Lamberts team – NEW)


Blyth 2

Consett 3

Houghton Boars

Medicals Serpents

Novos Centurions

North Shields Crusaders

South Shields Mariners

Whitley Bay Rockcliff Rangers


Ashington 3

Blyth 3

Border Park

Chester le Street 2

Gosforth Falcons

Jarrovians 2

Newcastle Ravens

North Shields Artisans

Ponteland Pythons

Ryton 3

Seghill Deputies

Sunderland 3

Wallsend Warriors

Westoe 3




Blaydon Bricks regain the Durham 4th Team Shield

Bricks secured a 6th Shield win in seven years in a tightly contested game against Houghton Boars (2nds)  with final score 18-3


Bricks, bring back the Shield…….. and it’s back where it belongs:


Thanks to Houghton Boars for what was a great final, contested right to the end, they was definitely sighs of relief when Rodders scored his second try a few minutes from the end, to make it 18-3.

Thanks to everyone who travelled to watch the final, support from the side line was fantastic, it was like a home game….

Thanks to Robin and Richard for covering Physio

Game was a double header, league and cup game.

It’s always hard to write a cup final match report, as you all know I HATE cup matches, don’t get me wrong it’s fantastic winning the shield, but the build up, who to select, subs to make and then when you are pushed all the way as were yesterday, once the final whistle went the game just went out my head and drinking started, what a relief ……

Some headlines:

  • Scrumage was excellent
  • Rob Pyle and Drennon were everywhere
  • Line out worked well
  • Forwards took the ball on well
  • Defence from the whole team was immense, what ball Boars got they got knocked back
  • Positional kicking was good
  • Rodders took his two trys well
  • Ref could have given us advantage rom our scrums instead of constant penalties and Owen would have scored, as it happens he was brought  back and we were given a penalty
  • We scored more points and won!

After game entertainment:

  • Buchanan room was packed
  • Pennies game was legendary
  • Songs were flowing
  • As was Moretti, Guinness & John Smiths, bar staff struggle a little with the concept of just keep bringing beer, we’ll drink it and we did…

Biggest thanks to those in the squad, who travelled, help get the team ready in warm up, supported from the sideline and did not get on, to a man everyone of the them was a true squad player, thank you.

We are so fortunate to have a squad of this capability, we truly had real finishers on the bench and non of the the substitutions weakened the side.

We did it, we brought the Shield back, it’s defence starts with training once the Lions test finish. There is a Vets game next Friday at Ryton, so they will be no game for the Bricks, I’ll check what the Development are doing.


Well done Bricks;


Thanks to Finnas for around 400 photos https://www.flickr.com/photos/26086313%y40N08/collections/




Trys Rodders 2

Conv: Rodders 1

Pen: Rodders 2

Squad for match:
Forwards: Paul W, Brett H, Grumpy, Keith W, Tom H, Arron P, Keith O, Horse, James K, Steve P, Windy, Rob Pyle, Drennon, Stracks, Cookie, Steve S, Cameron R, Ian B

Backs: Stu R, Owen R, Alex T, Steve D, Matt G, Liam B, Craig B, Lewis H, Rodders, Damien S, Mickey B, Craig O,

Saturday 1st April – Morpeth Stags 28, Blaydon Bricks 7

A depleted but battling Bricks side lost to a 30 man (or thereabouts) Stags squad who were out to enjoy their last match of the season in a well contested match where the Stags just had a bit too much firepower.

Morpeth opened the scoring early on with a well worked try finished by their (quite quick) supersized centre – apparently a former Penrith 1st teamer and quite a handful. The conversion made the score 7 – 0 to the Stags. Blaydon responded well at the restart with a good attack down the left wing initiated by Damian Ameer-Beg who had a good game all round. Good handling support from several players led to a lineout in the Stags 22 and a catch and forward drive led to a try by Keith Winter.  James Murray (another who had a sound game) landed a great conversion from wide out on the left to make it 7 – 7.

The game developed into an entertaining match that was mainly contested in the middle of the park with good play from both sides in both attack and defence. The Blaydon scrum stood up well in the face of a big Morpeth 8 and Rob Pyle was prominent in making any number of big tackles from the back row.  Eventually pressure from the Stags led to a 5metre scrum which was duly won by Morpeth and a try followed after powerful short range break from the scrum half. This was converted 14 – 7 to the Stags.

Aaron Poad made a surging break after picking up a Morpeth error and combined well with Damian A to make good ground for the Bricks. Unfortunately they could not capitalise on this and the game returned to the pattern of before only to be broken by another powerful attack down the middle of the field by the Stags backs resulting in another try. Again this was converted. 21-7 to the Stags.

A couple of changes were made at half time – one positional – but options were limited for the Bricks whereas a lot of fresh legs appeared for the Stags after half time.

On the restart the game quickly re-established itself as a tightly fought contest albeit with a lot of pressure on the Blaydon line. GREAT defence from the Blaydon side kept the Stags at bay (corny but couldn’t resist it!) and the home side were repelled several times when a try looked certain. Everyone played their part in this and it was great to watch. Then Windy ‘entered’ a maul from the side and, having been previously warned (so said the ref in a post-match interview!) a yellow card was shown. A very aggrieved Bricks captain left the field followed by the Stags forward who had formed an inviting doorway (or as Windy explained … an offside target) for his drive into the maul. Neither would return to the match.  Stu Reay took over the captaincy and marshalled his team well to provide stiff resistance.

More Morpeth pressure followed and, almost inevitably a try was scored following a 5m scrum – this time through an outnumbered centre field. Converted again. 28 – 7

Keith Oliver replaced Windy after the 10 minute sin bin was completed and the game continued as a good contest until the final whistle with both sides keen to play good hard rugby.

Well done to the Stags – you played well and were sporting opponents. Great stuff from the Bricks – an enjoyable game to watch lots of pride and determination shown all round.

Match report by Phil Partington – going to have to get this stopped, it actually reflects what happened in the game…….



  1. Tom Hirst
  2. Keith Winter
  3. Brian Penny
  4. Arron Poad
  5. Jack Inglis
  6. Ian Bennie
  7. Rob Pyle
  8. Windy (Keith Oliver – about 55 mins)
  9. Stu Reay
  10. James Murray (Lewis Hill – half time)
  11. Mickey Bell (James Murray – half time)
  12. Steve Davidson.
  13. Phil Divers
  14. Damien A
  15. Hopey


Saturday 18th March – Blaydon Bricks v Blyth IIs

Bricks let a 25 -5 halftime lead slip, which no doubt resulted from the amount of changes made at half time, with Bricks only just holding on to win 45 – 39, but in the end take maximum points by loaning Blyth 2s Keith Winter and Ian Bennie, which was nearly the undoing of us.
Good to see a couple of new players making they debut, Cameron who joined us after last playing for the school last year and Arron who last played for Blaydon U15s about 4 years ago. Good to have additional players as we still have many injuries; Savs, Matt Goodall, Harry, Windy (although he put in 20 mins today) Cliff, Phil Rayson, Stu Bailey (adding Horse and Steve Sewell this week) added to the fact that Toddy rejoins his ship on 22nd (how crap is his timing) and of course we have Lowsey on a sabbatical…… last tagged in a monastery in the Himalayas. At this rate we’ll be loaning players from the opposition for the final.

Sorry about the lack of photos, it was left to me to take them again, which always ends poorly, sorry but Finnas was AWOL, let’s hope he hasn’t left us to take photos at Winlaton…. https://www.flickr.com/photos/26086313%40N08/collections/

Trys: Divers 4, Chester, Craig O, Arron P
Conv: Divers 5
Highs & Lows;


• Horse made two good breaks from the back of a maul, only to be cut down by a young winger on both occasions, coming off injured and now doubtful for the final.
• Keith didn’t let us down and knocked on at a line out as the ball came down to him, ref pinged Blyth for a knock on.
• Set pieces worked well both halves; Blyth Scrum went back every time and Cookie, Toddy and Steve S took good line out ball.
• Divers at flyhalf with so much good ball from the forwards looked dangerous every time and scored four trys’, jug at the final required….
• Keith bosches first Blyth player, but second one stripped the ball from him as he recovered from the hit.
• Hope picked up a low pass and made a good break through the middle from fullback.
• Good break from Steve Sewell after coming on for Horse, but his shoulder went again later in the game and another one who won’t make the final.
• Centres Chester and Damien switched to good effect with Divers and made good yards, great line from Chester for his try.
• It was a really warm day and players were struggling with the heat, Steve Palmer was like a red flashing beacon and everyone wanted to be subbed, Chester had complained last time he was substituted, so even though he wanted a break, he was left on for the full game
• Cookie and Toddy were all over the park making crunching tackles
• Cameron and Arron had good debuts, with Arron scoring a good try.
• Putting Keith and Ian on for Blyth wasn’t my greatest management decision of the season, as the mobility of their pack increased around the same time we seemed to have switched off, we were 40 point to 5 up at one stage. But we continue with the policy of Bricks not playing uneven numbers in a game and we’d do it again.
• Paul W caught a kick off, had to mention that, then shouted for the next and Keith O left it and it dropped to the floor with Paul nowhere near….. normality resumed!
• Blyth then realised they had the speed advantage out wide and started to take he ball wide at every opportunity starting to clock up the trys and if their kicker had a kicking tee (I did offer ours) we probably would have lost this game.
• Craig B had been for a run in the morning and rumour was had 3 pork pies before the game, believable as a young winger from Blyth out stripped everyone down the sideline. Craig, later in the bar claimed it was nothing to do with his run and he was not outstripped, as he was no where near, he was reminded he was fullback and last line of defence and should have got across. He did get him the next time he broken through, was his next defence…..
Next week we take on Morpeth Stags, away, who are immediately above us in 3rd place and beat us about 6 weeks ago, so you can assure it will be a tough encounter.
Also Houghton Boars play Winlaton Saxons next Saturday 1st April so we find out who play in the final on 2nd April.
1. Paul Winter
2. Keith Winter (Grumpy)
3. Brian Penny (Steve Palmer)
4. Horse (Steve Sewell)
5. Keith Oliver (Jack Inglis)
6. Ian Bennie (Arron Poad )
7. Cookie (Cameron Richardson)
8. Mark Todd (Windy)
9. Stu Reay (Hopey, Craig B)
10. Divers (Hopey)
11. Paul Dingley (Mickey Bell)
12. Steve Davidson.
13. Damien A (Mark Todd)
14. Craig Oliver (Damien Shaw)
15. Hopey (Craig Barlow, Damien A))

Blaydon Bricks 0, Gateshead 3s 19

This game was played in great spirit and was much closer than the score suggested, with the Bricks close to scoring a couple of times in the first half, with a little better decision making,  more fruitful options would have been taken and those earlier scores would have made a difference.

This was a team performance that grew through the first half, as a number of players had not played together for a while, so with Phil Rayson and Phil Ritson adding some experience (quite some) to proceedings. As it happens Gateshead scored the early points, but the BrIcks held it to 0-0 in the second half even though they only had one set of fresh legs on the  bench.
Gateshead were a very strong experienced side ( squad of about 25) and
the majority of our experience and weight, out in Benidorm, the team were a fair bit lighter than normal, but much more mobile and they tackled like lions and wave after wave of Gateshead boys were cut down ferociously.
Good hard game with no niggle or lack of discipline, continued the trend of the last few weeks, which made it a pleasure to play in such a hotly
contested game

input from Phil Rayson and Steven Davidson

Saturday 4th March – Durham 4th Team Shield – Blaydon Bricks 79 v Chesterlee Street IIs 0


The score line didn’t do justice to how well Chester played on the day, Blaydon were just far more clinical in taking their opportunities and converting points and with a decent size squad available had a lot more fresh legs to introduce than Chester did, who ran out of steam in the second half.


The approach of dealing with this as any other game seemed to pay dividends, everyone (especially me) was a lot more relaxed, everyone knuckled down and played, advice to the referee was minimised, penalties were greatly reduced, even the comments from the sideline were somewhat positive and everyone went around their role in a professional manner.


Pictures, thanks to Finnas: https://www.flickr.com/photos/26086313%40N08/collections/



Trys: Stracks, Keith, Knoxy, Hopey, Rodders 3, Cliff, Liam, Matt, Divers, Brett

Conv: Rodders 8

Penalty: Rodders 1


Highs and Lows:

  • Things started well, Drennon took it on, James in support, Tom continues, Divers dropped it… as it the pass, was it the catch… no one cared, the intent was shown
  • Roles reversed Divers (backs) went through passed to Drennon dropped, but there was no arguments, we just went again till we got it right
  • Rodders was kicking well out of hand from our 22, to theirs, off the tee was a little below his par but he got enough
  • Hopey made a mazy run, confused all CLS and the Bricks, but it resulted in a good score.
  • We had both the high kick Winters on the field, first to drop was Keith, right hash of it, out in the open…..
  • By now our forwards were dominant in the scrum and in the lose, with runs from all, Tom, Keith W, Paul, Keith O, James, Stacks, Ian and Drennon, wave after wave and a lot of tackling practice for CSL.
  • From such a forward play ball came to Divers, out to Rodders and Hopey’s second run he was just kept in at the corner by Rodders combining and Hopey touched down
  • There was a pass and a catch, between Drennon and Keith, neither went well and ball spilt…
  • Then it was Paul’s Winters turn, clear shout, kick off too long for CLS to get to it, Paul split it and took loads of stick about his T-Rex arms in the bar afterwards, in fact a T-rex outfit may have been sourced … it was too many Moretti’s in to know if the one click purchase had been pressed…
  • Keith stole a ball, legally (possibly) and went blind, out to Rodders who ran it in
  • Stracks breaks, to Hopey, kick down the line, ooooohhhh what were you doing Stu R, one not to try at home…. or away even.
  • Good interchange Divers to Matt, back to Divers who released Liam to run in a good try.
  • Brett ran a try in from around 40 metres bouncing off CLS players, he set off on a second run soon after was desperate for someone to pass to.
  • Cliff tried to trot and talk, that didn’t end well, he did batter a few CLS players out the way
  • Steve Palmer set off on a run, cavalry charge was sounded
  • Cliff does a Paul Winter and messes up a high ball
  • Windy taped up Cookie for the line out jumps and cut off the blood to his legs, sure he told him to run it off…..
  • Good to see Craig Rowlands making a comeback and we didn’t break him this time
  • CLS lose a prop and Grumpy nearly won one against the head in uncontested scrums
  • One little strop was visible on the day, when a substitution was made… it’s great that people really want to play for the Bricks and don’t want to come off, but we were just trying to get everyone a game and involved
  • Additional forwards try scorers were Stracks, Cliff and Keith W – all from half way as well, according to bar talk later in the evening.
  • Backs ran in some more scores, with Matt, Divers and Rodders, who got up to his 3 scores (Jug owed to the lads)
  • They was many more good interplays between forwards, backs/forwards and back but by now I was so happy we were going to win I put the book away and concentred on getting the Stella ready for the final whistle, which was consumed well, before retiring to the bar for many more beers, job well done.



Well played by all, good performances everywhere, sorry if i did not mentions a good or bad thing you did, message me and I can add things in, only factual things naturally…..


So we now have to wait for the 1st April for the Houghton 2s v Winlaton 2s game to see who we play in the final on 22nd April.





  1. Paul Winter   (Brett)
  2. Keith Winter  (Grumpy)
  3. Tom Hirst.
  4. Keith Oliver.   (Cliff)
  5. James Knox. (Steve Palmer)
  6. Ian Bennie   (Darren Cook)
  7. Simon Drennon  (Steve Sewell)
  8. Paul Strachan
  9. Stu Reay.     (Liam)
  10. Phil Divers
  11. Liam Bradley  (Mickey Bell)
  12. Steve Davidson.  (Rob Pyle)
  13. Damien A (Matt Goodall)
  14. Hopey                     (Craig Barlow )



Saturday 18th February, Blaydon Bricks 36, Consett IIIs 17

Bricks take 9 points from doubleheader win against Consett IIIs, with a good win, more than 4 trys and lending a player to Consett. Our thanks to Keith Oliver who played for Consett and took some stick from one of our side line, who seemed to think he had rejoined Consett.
This game so nearly didn’t happen, text went out and loads of unavailability came back, in addition to the massive injured list we had:
• Tom and Toddy selected for the 3rds for the cup squad, both thankfully came back when Ryton conceded the cup tie.
• Goggle, Liam and Cookie pretended to have a friend and went to an imaginary bachelor do somewhere
• Brett who was confirming availability Friday suddenly found himself in London on Saturday morning
• Lowsey declared a sabbatical, he’s going to need to play a lot more games before he’s due a sabbatical
• Others…, working, away, come on people you have all the summer to go away.
So decision made 11:30am to proceed with the game and a good decision it was, not only as we won, but the game was played in a good spirit with everyone playing for each other.
Scott, Craig O, Tom 2, Stracks, Joe Melia
Conversions: Scott 2, Damien A 1

Thanks to Stu Reay who took most of the photos, i keep forgetting to take any: http://www.flickr.com/photos/26086313%40N08/collections/

Highs and Lows:
• I told the side Keith O was doing us a favour and playing for them, he would have the red socks on, after looking at their faces I felt the need to re-iterate to be courteous to him, not trample all over him
• I found Joe Melia hiding in our changing rooms just before the game hoping the 3s didn’t notice so he could play for us, he did turn up on the side line with 20mins to go to get on.
• Tom and Keith were all over the park in defence making good tackles and going forward
• James and Stracks made big yards with ball in hand
• Toddy was everywhere, including battering Stracks nose
• Richard Pike played scrumhalf for us, he occasionally forgot he was supposed to stay out but he ran the show well and fed forwards standing off. He did misread a call and passed the ball to Grumpy on the hoof with all the big lads going the other way, much to Grumpy’s surprise who didn’t get far, but did retain the ball to start over, priceless to see from the sideline.
• Game plan was 12/13 man rugby, they had some quick looking backs and we had a much bigger pack, you’ll never believe it, they actually followed the game plan, for a while anyway.
• Tom bashed over for 2 good trys, one from Paul D taking the ball at the 10yd line and running it back, offloading to Stracks, to James and Tom stole the glory
• Game started great, 4 trys up, forwards taking on phase after phase… looking good
• Craig Oliver finished off a good score, in only his second game for the Bricks.
• We stripped a couple of balls in contact and stole the ball, everyone seem to try and go for a strip instead of a tackle and Consett started to break through tackles.
• Then we started to run across the field, get isolated, lose ball and Consett got their heads up and ran in 3 trys
• Half time conversation was, back to basics, batter them with wave after wave, go back to switching the ball back to the forwards and we starved Consett backs of the ball.
• Chester made some good breaks
• Scott ran the show from 10
• It wouldn’t be an official match report if there wasn’t a negative comment on Keith, Catching, going off his feet and giving away penalties, etc. etc. so I guess we’ll define this as an unofficial report as he had a great game, I don’t remember him dropping the ball or giving away a penalty, but the guys or Keith may well put me right. Did find out in the bar, he was hung over………..
• Grumpy throw the ball in as Keith was propping and insisted he never got done for not straight, only explanation is the ref needs new glasses…..



1. Keith Winter
2. Grumpy
3. Tom Hirst
4. James Knox
5. Mark Todd
6. Ian Bennie (Joe Melia)
7. Damien S
8. Stacks
9. Richard Pike
10. Scott Henderson
11. Paul D
12. Damien A
13. Steven D
14. Craig Oliver
15. Mickey B

Saturday 28th January – Cup Match – Sedgefield IIs 7 v Blaydon Bricks 20


End result just what we needed, great outcome, but what a journey to get there, with a total of 19 injured or not available, it looked like we would struggle to get a squad, but thankfully we took the field with 26 players. We have a number of people to thank for getting the squad out and having cover for all positions:
• Richard Pike agreeing to travel over from Cumbria, unfortunately he had a car accident on way across =, thankfully family and him all ok
• Owen for agreeing to cover bench
• Simon D for coming out of semi-retirement as we were really short on backrows
• We had a new player join us Alex but unfortunately we didn’t get a chance to see him play

. Cookie made himself available for his first game of the season
• Brett returned after being absent for a while moving house
• Rodders and Tom got a shift of work
• Brian P played for the Vets on Friday and covered the bench for us


The score, size of squad and the socialising afterwards were the highlights, the game was one to forget. What is it about Cup matches and the Bricks, having won the Shield so many times, you’d think we’d be used to it, but emotions are just on edge with management and players seem to forget things; like laws, (our penalty count was horrendous and not just Keith W) game plan and even how to score trys, with both Damien A and Simon D running out the back of the deadball area with American Football expectations, sorry gents you still need to actually put the ball down in the deadball area.

Trys: Liam 2, Stracks 1
Conv: Rodders 1
Penalty: Rodders 1

Photos thanks to Finnas: https://www.flickr.com/photos/26086313%40N08/collections/
Highs/Lows: ( I didn’t make notes, so tried to recall from memory)
• We had the advantage in the backs and we scored quickly within a couple of minutes with some real good interplay
• So we stopped passing out to the back line and took them on up front as they could compete there
• Next we gave away countless penalties and had 3 yellow cards which stopped any continuity being developed
• With a combination of how easy the first score was, ignoring the game plan while running from our 22, number of yellow cards and the number of penalties we gave away, Sedgefield got their heads up and it became obvious if we continued to implode, they had a chance of stealing the result.
• Good chip and collect from Divers
• Rodders went off with a yellow card and Hopey stepped in to flyhalf and actually followed the game plan for his first possession in our half, kicked and made good yards.
• Scrummage was a good battle with both sides in the main securing their own ball
• Steve Sewell who was having a good game, went down with a shoulder injury and was replaced by Simon Drennan coming out of semi-retirement again to help out and played 100%, as always
• Have to mention Simon’s knock on, from the kick off, it was spectacular
• Forwards made some good yards with driving mauls and and interplay
• Good covering tackle by Rodders on their fast lad to save a score when we were 10-7 ahead.
• Paul W did well as Captain trying to keep thing calm, also talking his way out of what would have been a fourth yellow card
• Owen came on and made some big hits and and good yards.
• Last 10 minutes or so we played the game plan used our back to good effect and stayed in Sedgefield’s half to protect against a run away try as it was still 10-7
• Stracks scored off a back row move at the scrum after resting 10mins on a yellow card
• Good kick from Owen and Liam outpaced the defence to touchdown in the corner
• Owen got a yellow, but it wasn’t his, but had to go anyway.
• Final score 20-7 and a lot of relief from players, a large Blaydon injured sideline and management.
• Sorry to all the guys who didn’t’ get on, games was so close it was hard to make more changes.

Day ended well with loads of people staying out to celebrate the result, which was as we wanted. Also big positive, our 1s beat Blackheath at Blaydon, by 28-11, taking a max 5 point, well done guys.

So a wins a win and Bricks move into the semi’s, with next round will be either against Sunderland 3s or Chester Le Street IIs on the 4th March. Next week we’re back to league duty against Medicals IIIs.

1. Paul
2. Keith W
3. Tom, Brett, Keith Winter, Phil Partington,
4. Keith O. (Cliff)
5. James Knox
6. Steve S. (Simon D)
7. Ian Bennie. (Cookie)
8. Stracks
9. Stu R (Owen)
10. Rodders
11. Liam B,
12. Divers
13. Steve Davidson
14. Hopey. (Damien A)
15. Craig B
Bench: Brett, Brian P, Phil P, Damien S, Paul Dingley, Alex,

South Shields IIs 15, Bricks 10

Match report from Phil below, well done to the lads who played this game, unfortunately we had a late cry off (unavoidable) and disappointingly 3 no shows of key positions, which left the squad vulnerable to any injuries, which we got, so a game we should have won was lost, sorry Bricks.

I will be at the cup game away at Sedgefield next week, with a new knee, looking at the responses on Facebook to-date, we do seem to be struggling to field a team, given all the injuries, so may have to dig my boots out. :-)


A highly charged atmosphere at South Shields led to an intense game and, eventually a narrow 15 – 10 defeat for an under strength Bricks side. Lacking their talisman manager (having an op on a cold sore or something) and with a number of cry offs and no shows this Bricks side put up a brave performance against a South Shields Mariners side desperate for a win and containing a number of first team players – available as their first team had no game.

We started the match with some players playing out of their selected position (thank you to them) and probably one of the oldest 2 man benches in history (115 years in total I think!).

Encouraged by a baying crowd the Mariners started fast, creating good ball and releasing some very quick backs (for a 4th team!). This eventually led to a really good long distance try down the Mariners left wing that was converted to give the home team a 7 – 0 lead. There followed a period of highly competitive rugby with neither side really gaining the upper hand. During this period Stu B injured his knee and Bricks stalwart Cliffy came on into the second row with Windy dropping in to the back row. Cliffy obviously made a difference (or that was his story) as a series of drives by the forwards at the South Shields line eventually resulted in a short range try for Keith Winter. The conversion was missed and the score was 7 – 5 to the Mariners. This was how it stayed until half time.

Soon after the restart another spell of Blaydon forward pressure saw Windy go over for another close quarter score. Matt missed the drop kicked conversion – probably because he didn’t wait for the tee to reach him – a mistake by the distracted caretaker manager really. 7 – 10 to the Bricks.

From the resulting kick off Windy gathered the ball only to be clobbered by an excellent tackle that resulted in a damaged ankle for the Bricks captain. On came the caretaker manager resulting in another reshuffle as Keith W went into the second row.

The game continued at the same intensity with little given away by either side. Prop Steve Palmer had to go off following a collapsed scrum and the Bricks were down to 14 with uncontested scrums coming in to play. The home crowd bayed some more and the Mariners redoubled their efforts, bringing on fresh legs. Despite this Blaydon exerted a period of some pressure without ever really getting near the South Shields line. A penalty kick for goal was missed by Blaydon and this gave the chance for the Mariners to come back. The Mariners skipper made a wonderful weaving, speedy break from midfield and, with hardly a hand laid on him, he scored wide out on the Mariners left. The crowd erupted and most of the Mariners team ran up and piled on top of the scorer – we thought someone had found 50p! 12 – 10 to the Mariners with time running out. From the kick off the home side gathered the ball and made progress towards the Blaydon line. Good ball retention by the home team (not always the case for either side in this match!) led to a penalty kick which was duly missed. However, they got the ball back again from the drop out and again drove towards the Bricks line. Another penalty was given away by the Blaydon pack and this one was converted as the final whistle blew. 15 – 12 to the Mariners. Cue wild celebrations!

Well done to the Mariners – they played a good game and are a very hospitable and friendly but competitive club – always a pleasure to play them. The ref had a really good game and kept things flowing but well under control – I’m sure his assessor – former Blaydon player and poacher turned game keeper Andy Wilson gave him a good report.

Finally, well done to the lads who represented themselves and Blaydon Bricks so well – even though all they wanted to know after the game was “when is Bruce coming back?”

Cup match next week.
1 Steve Palmer
2 Keith Winter (Grumpy)
3 Tom Hirst
4 James Knox
5 Windy
6 Stu Bailey (Cliffy)
7 Ian Bennie
8 Stracks
9 Liam
10 Matt Goodall
11 Steve Sewell
12 Chester
13 Damien A
14 Paul Dingley
15 Craig Barlow

Saturday 7th January –  Blaydon Bricks 44, Houghton Boars 7


Score line did not do justice to how competitive the Boars were in this game, the difference being the clinical finishing by the Bricks running in 8 trys, most of them from a distance. This was one of the best displays from a Bricks side for a long time.  It was great to see the size of the squad available, we had 9 subs and cover for all positions and fresh legs in the second half certainly took it toll on Boars.

Good to see the return of a few players:

  • Matt’s first games of the season, well since the start of last season really,
  • Steve Sewell returning from Injury
  • Biglad first game of the season and not many last, although he has been playing Vets
  • Ian Kelly available – Although he subsequently blotted his copy book on Facebook by suggesting we ban Moretti, suggest a changing room court case, post this weeks game, understand Sharon may be defending him….. prediction; Guilty as anything


Trys; Matt, Hopey, Lowsey 2, Damien A 2 & Liam 2

Conv. Divers 2


Photos: https://www.flickr.com/photos/26086313%40N08/collections/

Also some to come from Chris Stewart – taking some with his camera



First half:

  • Having Matt at 10 obviously worried Boars with his direct running, first try came when he juggled the ball on the 22, Boars must have thought he’d drop it and backed off and he regained it and crossed for our first score.
  • Second try was a good forwards and backs combination, forwards making good yards, backs through it wide and Hopey ran it in.
  • 3rd Try Divers switches off Matt and pulled down short, Lowsey in support scores the try
  • 4th try another Divers break, sure Lowsey would say like a good supporting back row, he was on hand when Divers got pulled down short, for Lowsey to run in his second, (well from about 30 metres)
  • Boars just struggled with the movement in our backs all day
  • Liam played a great game, good tackling, handling and scoring trys from outside 22, his 2nd was a class finish – his girlfriend should watch more often.
  • Stracks – well what can one say, if you can’t quite get to a ball , knee it forward…. what!

2nd Half

  • So we changed the majority of the pack at half time, so everyone got at least a half, apart from Ian K, so elected for a last 20 mins trundle
  • Keith was very keen to play to run off his over indulgence during Xmas, so I moved him from Prop to blind side AND made him Captain, quietest (and reddest face) i’ve ever seen from him; tackle, run, make decisions and speak, he kind of got a combination of any 2 from 4 at each point……
  • Boars lost a prop and Tom went on for them, Steve P knew he had a competition at the next scrum, that woke him up
  • Not sure what happened on Divers first defensive move as the new full back, looked like ball on the ground was too far down to reach …..
  • Cliff got an elbow in the eye, (some may say what goes around, comes around) and came over to the sideline for treatment from our first aider Windy, who tipped a water bottle in his eye and told him to ‘Run it Off’ – post match discussion, we may need a new first aider
  • Grumpy was heard to provide advice to the referee during a scrum ‘ That was not very straight’ was heard clearly by the sideline – outcome as always referee declined the advice
  • Keith down on the floor, (my monies on getting his breadth back) doing something, passes ball to Damien A to drop him in the muck, ouch!
  • Blaydon set off on a 40 yard maul, it always amazes me why the opposite think pulling down a load of heavy lads at the front, will result in anything other, than the ones at the back continuing on and walking over the top (gently, using ballerina steps, naturally) the Blaydon pack emerge with clean boots….
  • There was calls for ‘Di*k of the Day’ award to be introduced, 2 prime candidates; 1) Cliff for a tree falling action in trying to get down to tackle a centre, he was well past Cliff by the time the timber was over. 2) Damien A stood big and tall to tackle one of Boars big forwards, ouch! that must of hurt as he tumble weeded backover.
  • Sure there was more, but due to the next item, who knows.
  • The night ended with Boat races in the Buchanan, me, not able to get down on the floor properly, due to pending knee replacement, secondarily and primarily due to the amount of Moretti consumed, while Windy checked his phone into Sharon’s overnight cleaning and charging service, she offers at the club (for the second time in a couple of weeks)

This coming weekend we take on Consett 3s, at home, in a league double header, after they cried off earlier in the season, good to see them running 3 teams again. Hopefully a chance to move up into top 4…… if we can win that 7 pointer. I think this is a one I hand over to the apprentice; Grumpy, (who is still reeling from losing his unbeaten record at Sunderland) as the week after they are swapping out my knee, then I’ll be on the road to recovery and fitness, the start of my comeback!


  1. Keith Winter (Big Lad)
  2. Ian Bennie       (Grumpy)
  3. Tom Hirst        (Steve Pamer, Ian Kelly)
  4. Keith Oliver (Derek Turnbull)
  5. Steve Sewell (Cliff)
  6. Strachs        (Keith Winter)
  7. Lowsey
  8. Windy   (Stu Bailey)
  9. Stu Reay
  10. Matt Goodall
  11. Liam Bradley
  12. Damien A
  13. Divers (Chester)
  14. Paul Dingley (Damien S)
  15. Hopey (Divers)