High scoring encounter as contact rugby returns to the Demesnes
By Martin Paul - Senior Reporter
BARNARD CASTLE RUFC hosted its first contact match in more than a year when its under-14 side ran out against Stockton on Sunday.
The high scoring match saw the home side lose 56-36 despite a valiant effort by the young players.
The game got off at a cracking pace with Barney quickly on the offensive after securing the ball from their own kick-off and spent the first minutes attacking in the Stockton half, repeatedly threatening the try-line.
However, a turnover saw Stockton’s much brawnier pack take advantage of their possession to deftly pass the ball across the field to score the opening try, which they successfully converted.
Barney came back flying with two quick tries in quick succession, one of which was converted, giving them a 12-7 lead within 20 minutes.
But the sheer size of the Stockton side took its toll on Barney as the match progressed.
Lainey Hunt from the club said: “In the end Stockton’s size and dominance in the ruck took its toll putting us under too much pressure and led to them dominating the second half.
“It is exciting to be back and we are thrilled that the game was fast-paced with lots of good skills on show from both teams. This was reflected in the Stockton 56 to Barney 36 scoreline.”
Coach Lee Ainsley said the team had to adapt its strategy because Covid restrictions do not allow for scrummages and mauling and the game was more akin to rugby league style. Also tough for the team was the limited practice they enjoyed since practice restarted late in March. He said: “You are only allowed 20 minutes contact a session, so 20 minutes a week basically.”
The lack of practice, he added, led to the team tiring in the second half.
The under-14 side will be in action at home this Sunday when they face Upper Eden. Kick off is at 11am.