What a fitting way to bring to a close this 2nd session of Justin’s rugby Career as his shoulder goes under the knife on Monday 17th February, 25 years playing for Blaydon, we wait to see what next, good things usually come in 3s, so he should be back… certainly as a minimum coaching to share all that experience and knowledge, watch this space…. Update surgery went well and he’s recovering with biscuits and stacks of well wishes to a great gent in the game!
The squad, although a Spartans (3s) game was a mix of players who just wanted to play in Justin’s last game:
- 13 Bricks players, naturally as he’s played for us for a number of season and captained the side, without loss, whilst Paul has been injured.
- 8 guys who move between 2s & 3s depending on selection
- Paul Crampton making his 2nd appearance for Blaydon, getting his 1st try, he’s a big lad, good player and a handfull for the opposition
- Vinnie made his first appearance of the season outside of Vets, started at Prop and ran around the back row in the 2nd half, showing he would not be out of place for our 2s, till he was taken out and had to leave the field after an unintentional kick to the knee, I’ll put it out there, soft or what! – would say he needs more contact and game time!
- Horse (James Houghton) club coach making a return to playing, injured in warm up but soldiered on, but also forgetting at times he has no match day say on the side line when ‘allowed’ to play for Spartans…
- Matt Tucker (full back 2nd half) and Ewan Lowry turned up on the day as 2s game was off and they wanted game time;
- Matt was playing his 2nd consecutive game for Bricks/Spartans as he comes back from injury and ran some tremendous lines from full back
- Ewan (Backrow) at 19 just loves playing rugby and has played many times for Spartans & Bricks
The game ended with Justin kicking a conversion as the last act of his retirement game, one he will never forget.
Game highs & Lows:
- Keith Winter making his 3rd appearance in a row, following his return from his 1st retirement put a superb kick in that I would have been proud of, it may have been to save him from having to run too far!
- Good to see Ewan Pritchard playing back at Blaydon, although he had the wrong colour shirt ion and was playing backrow, where he had a good game as he always does.
- Good to have Savs back from injury, playing well at both 10 and 13, he may even of got on the score sheet, if Guesty had pasted to him as he was idling outside of him, waiting for a pass that never came
- Good forward domination and power resulted in a good controlled driving maul and a score for Paul Crampton
- Stu Bailey made a good return on his 2nd appearance form suffering an injury to his sternum, after a first half in at centre he made a comment about wanting to get more into the forwards, his face was a picture when I named him as hooker, it had gone uncontested by then.
- 2nd half following the introduction of Horse, he had a number of issues, problems passing with the fetlocks, lost a ball in contact and then showed what he’s still capable of doing on the hoof!
- Ewan’s first activity after coming on at the interval was to send the Westend 8 backwards at a rate of knots
- Guesty took his opportunity well to score from short range in a what could be seen as a typical scrum half snipe, but it was more of a flop over the line, which he’s still talking about and the distance of a metre keeps multiplying
- Keith continued to enjoy his return, scoring a short range try, throwing an outrages dummy that was taken, a good break and an offload to Ewan that deserved a try when he subsequently put Adam in and over, but it was cancelled out for, if I remember correctly a forward pass.
- By now fresh legs for the Spartans was making a difference and what had been very closely contested game saw Blaydon making breaks and starting to pull away with a good long range try finished by Ewan
Last words on Justin, he showed what a good player we will be missing, he was everywhere, so competitive, aggressive legally and playing with a big smile on his face which stayed there well into the night in the bar, just enjoying the whole event – thank you for your 25 years of great service throughout the teams and look forward to seeing you back, in some remit soon. Speedy recovery sir!
Trys Paul C, Keith, Matt, Adam, Guesty, Ewan,
Conversions; Hopey 3,
FINAL CONVERSION: JUSTIN
1. Vinnie Steve Palmer Paul Crampton
2. Cameron Stu Bailey
3. Keith Winter
4. Paul Crampton Adam Turnbull
5. Matt Johnson James Houghton
6. Arran Poad Paul Vinnicombe
7. Justin Clarke Ewan Lowry
8. Paul Strachan Justin Clarke
10. Savs James Murray
11. Damien Shaw Matt Robertson
12. Peter Andrew Savs Peter Andrew
13. Stu Bailey Lee Guest
14. Callum Gascoigne David Reay
15. Lee Guest Matt Tucker