ON THE RUN: Barney full back Gavin Hill impressed
ON THE RUN: Barney full back Gavin Hill impressed


Durham/Northumberland 1

Barnard Castle.......... 36

Novocastrians........... 32

AFTER a couple of recent defeats, Castle badly needed a good result against a much-improved Novos outfit. Novos had racked up 50-plus points in their two most recent victories and had an excellent set of backs who have caused defences all manner of problems.

However, Barney now boast a strong set of forwards and the game plan was to use these to best effect and try and deny the Novos backs the ball. Sure enough, the scrum dominated throughout the first half and this laid the platform for an early penalty.

Castle kicked for the corner. The lineout drive provided a further penalty and this time quick hands along the back line saw an in-form Lucas Summers speed over in the corner.

Novos struggled to cope with the Barney forwards at this stage and it was no surprise when their efforts to slow down the Castle ball led to a yellow card.

Barney newcomer Gavin Hill showed his credentials at full back as he made a good 50 yards up the pitch, setting up a try for flyhalf Sam Errington. Greg Upton added the extras and Barney seemed to be well in control at 12-0 up.

As so often, some of the Barney patience and self control ran out and, conceding a series of penalties, they allowed the visitors to gain confidence and territory, leading to their first try.

Hill soon made his pace and strength show again as be blasted upfield on another solo run and this time it was centre Greg Upton who received the offload.

Just before the break the Barney forwards shunted the Novos scrum back over their own line, number eight Liam Riley having an easy dot-down and gaining Castle the fourth-try bonus point.

However, Novos, now showed some great attacking play, and hit back with their own try almost immediately to close the half out only 24-12 adrift.

Barney started the second half in domineering form and within five minutes scored their second push over try, Riley again seizing the moment.

Following an injury to Jack Worley, Castle lost their way a bit allowing Novos back into the game. They showed their undoubted class by dismantling the Barney defence, scoring four unanswered tries to take the lead 29-32 as the game entered the final ten minutes.

With time running out, Barney worked their way down the pitch and when they gained a scrum close to the Novos line, the visitors must have known what was coming and sure enough a third push over try ensued, coach Junior now acting as the tail gunner to dive over.

Greg Upton nailed the important kick to leave Novos needing a try in the final minutes to seal the game, but skipper Mikey Hughes stole the ball in the final play to make the game safe.

Barney now have a week’s rest before they travel to South Shields Westoe who are just two points above them in the table.