Novocastrians RFC 0-78 West Leeds RUFC
The huge gap in quality between Yorkshire and Durham and Northumberland Rugby was again evident in this one-sided affair, writes Glenn Broadbent.
It is difficult to say much of meaning when the visitors were 0-28 after just 16 minutes and the home side spent less than five minutes of the game in their opponent’s 22 all game.
A masterclass from winger Calderwood saw Wests take a 0-45 lead into half time.
The second half began the same and within five minutes the visitors made two changes to rest key players for next week’s visit to league leaders Bridlington.
The procession of tries continued. With West Leeds 0-66 and with fifteen minutes remaining West Leeds coaching staff played their Joker. With the victory secured they introduced the veteran Phil Thompson. Thompson’s decades of experience of rugby at all levels but mainly second team was soon on display. A game changing break set up Calderwood for his umpteenth try of the afternoon to take it to 0-71.
As the game reached its 85th minute it was Thompsons turn to add the final try of the afternoon with an inspired touchdown under the posts, Breakwell converted and the teams agreed enough was enough and called it a day on 85 minutes. FT 0-78.
This was a cameo performance of such individual brilliance Thompson’s place in future squads in this competition must be assured, who knows he could even make it all the way to the final at the age of 39.
The most important story today wasn’t really on the paddock. Last year Barnard Castle chickened out of a fixture and cost Wests a home quarter final.
Novocastrians are made of better stuff, a club with a fine history who know about the spirit of the game, they have seen the highs and lows and through it all retained their dignity and respected the traditions of the game.
Novo’s are in a relegation battle, they admitted they expected a possible 100-point defeat, yet they fulfilled the fixture and fielded the strongest side available. They offered wonderful hospitality for which everyone at West Leeds thanks them.
Novocastrians are a club who deserve to survive this season and flourish in the future, they are everything community rugby is about.
West Leeds move into the quarter final with a home fixture against Aspatria from Cumbria.