SUCCESS AT THE DOUBLE: Above, the Barnard Castle team with the trophy
SUCCESS AT THE DOUBLE: Above, the Barnard Castle team with the trophy


Alan Britton Memorial


Barnard Castle FC...... 3

Stanhope SSC FC........ 3

(Barnard Castle won 5-3 on penalties)

BARNEY survived an almighty scare to round off the season with a second piece of silverware.

In a thrilling game played in front of a large crowd at Tow Law Town, a Barney side shorn of senior players who were on cricketing duty at Thornaby stepped up and produced an excellent performance.

At 3-0 up with just 20 minutes to go, it looked for all the world as if the cup was in the bag. But with Barney legs tiring and only one sub to call on, Stanhope came storming back to take the tie to penalties.

The first seven were scored. Stanhope then hit the post and Tom Merryweather maintained his composure to slot coolly home and secure the trophy.

The first half belonged to Barney, who could have taken the lead in the first five minutes when a lovely through ball created a one-on-one chance with the Stanhope keeper, but a heavy first touch took the ball out of play for a goal kick.

Barney played with confidence and were always quicker to the ball.

They deservedly took the lead when Will Hovington’s shot from the edge of the area hit the back of the net. The lead was extended when Tom Hammond’s flicked near post header found the top far corner to give Barney a 2-0 advantage at the break.

Barney then added a third when the Stanhope keeper was penalised for picking up a back pass.

Lewis Robinson struck home powerfully – and surely that was that.

However, Stanhope were awarded a soft free kick on the edge of the area which Jack Barker converted with a low shot.

Two minutes later, another Barker free-kick hit the net and suddenly it was game on.

As Stanhope pressed, Barney had a couple of good chances late on to put the game to bed, but composure was lacking on both occasions.

Then, after yet another free kick, Aydan Bowers poked the ball home with the last kick of the game to send the tie to penalties.

On balance, Barney deserved the win after dominating for so long.

It was a fitting finale to Geoff Thwaites’ 25-year connection with the club and he was given a guard of honour as he left the pitch for a final time.

It was also the perfect way for Barney to bid farewell to the Crook and District League. Next season the club, under new manager Tommy Lowther, will head for new adventures in the Wearside League.