RFU SENIOR COUNTY CHAMPIONSHIP
SATURDAY 9th MAY
EAST MIDLANDS 10 NORTHUMBERLAND 36
Northumberland Senior Men’s team travelled to Bedford Athletic RFC to begin their 2015 campaign against East Midlands on Saturday 9th May.
On a dry but windy afternoon, the early play saw East Midlands go into a seven point lead despite Northumberland being the dominant force. The try came from a strong run by East Midland second row Wade Schoeman with the conversion from fullback Joe Daniel. The setback was only temporary and ten minutes later, in the 25th minute, a breakthrough by Northumberland flanker Harry Bate saw him score wide out on the left to narrow the gap to two points. Three minutes later a deft pass out of the back of the hand from Northumberland number 8 Jason Smithson gave winger Peter Moralee the opportunity to touch down out on the right. Scrum half Rhodri Adamson had missed with his first two conversion attempts but it was third time lucky when, following a mazy run from fullback Nathan Bailey to score under the posts, Adamson’s conversion pushed Northumberland into a ten point lead. Further pressure, mainly created by Northumberland’s dominant forwards, led to another try under the posts, this time from flanker James Hamilton with Adamson converting to give a score line of 7-24. With half-time approaching, Northumberland lost some concentration and conceded a penalty on their 22m line to allow East Midlands’ Daniel to add three more points to his team’s tally.
The second half began with East Midlands playing with more confidence and keeping the ball in hand and pressing determinedly on the Northumberland try line. However, strong defence from the away team kept them out and as we approached the hour mark strong scrummaging from Northumberland saw the ball move from far out on the right along the back line for centre Ashley Smith to score in the left-hand corner to put Northumberland nineteen points ahead. As the 75th minute approached, a series of penalties for Northumberland pushed them up to the East Midlands 5m line. A quick tap and go led to the ball being turned over but poor handling from East Midlands gave the ball back to Northumberland and Adamson darted in following good tidying up work from replacement flanker Nick Cairns. With Adamson converting his try the game soon ended with Northumberland convincing winners 10-36.
The County’s next game is against Eastern Counties on Saturday 23rd May at Kingston Park with a 2-15 kick-off. Before this game, the Senior Women’s team play against Cumbria Women, with this game kicking off at 11-45. Admission, covering both games is £5 for adults and £2 for under 14s.
A win for the Men’s team would see them going through to the final at Twickenham on 31st May. If we achieve this, it would mean that Northumberland County teams will have played in three successive finals at Twickenham. A proud record for a proud County.