TOUGH GOING: Barnard Castle II stand-off Adam Kicks is lifted off his feet by the Mowden Park tackler
TOUGH GOING: Barnard Castle II stand-off Adam Kicks is lifted off his feet by the Mowden Park tackler

Candy League - Division 2 South

Barnard Castle II........... 11

Mowden Marauders...... 79

WITH Mowden second team opting not to travel up to Alnwick, Castle found themselves facing a strong “third” XV, which was too hot for them to handle.

Not only was the set scrum heavily outweighed, the Castle defenders had no answer to the powerful backrow runners and time and again the defensive line was breached as Mowden cantered to an easy victory.

Nonetheless, there were bright spots in a game where much of the traffic was one way.

Barney proved time and again that despite their defensive frailties they could play some good attacking rugby.

With Adam Kicks pulling the strings at flyhalf, he was able to launch his centres Jack Clarke and Matia Navunisinu a number of times.

Both of them got close to scoring but were cut down by excellent Mowden cover tackling.

The forwards too showed they knew how to put phases together and from one period of play late in the first half, scrum half Dan Swires and Kicks were able to create an overlap and get the ball away to fullback Johnny Bartlett, who scored effortlessly in the corner.

While Castle competed well in the lineout – man-of-the-match John Lumsdon having an outstanding aerial game – in the tight it was hard going and Barney suffered early disruption when hooker James Croxford was put through the mangle and had to go off.

Despite some negatives – failing to drop onto the ball to secure it and tacklers failing to hold onto their man – there were other positives too.

John McGrath stepping into the hooker spot did especially well, Adrian Stubbs made a successful return from injury, Liam Smart produced a fine cameo on his return after a long lay-off, Issac Baker did well at lock under huge pressure and Jack Tobbell’s throwing in at the lineout was a real revelation. However the biggest plaudits must go to John Lumsdon who put in a mammoth tackle count and put his body on the line time and again to fight the Mowden tide.

Despite the result, Castle kept playing their own attacking game to the end and probably deserved at least one more score as a reward for their efforts.

Castle remain mid-table and it will be interesting to see how the league secretary scores the game given Mowden’s loading of the third team with second team players.

Barney meantime have an opportunity to recharge batteries next week. Their next league game will be at home against West Hartlepool on November 17.

Dave Bottoms