Newton Aycliffe 1ST XV played host to Yarm at Moore Lane last weekend. The recent challenges of squad players being unavailable were somewhat eased by the return of some key players. Yarm have slowly crept up the table with games in hand, so Aycliffe were keen to slow their recent good run.

Conditions on the day were wet with the pitch churning up quite a bit. The resulting mud bath quickly transformed the strips of both squads, so it was difficult to tell who was on whose side at times.

However, within the first 20 minutes both sides settled down to what turned out to be a great contest. Yarm were first to score an unconverted try 0-5. Yarm’s over eager defence in the rucks awarded Aycliffe a penalty which in form kicker Euan Kitching converted. 3-5.

The decent crowd that endured the wet conditions were treated to some gutsy rugby from both teams. The home supporters were then jubilant when scrum half Ben Walton took the opportunity to dart over for a superb try. Kitching added to the score with a conversion. 10-5. Not to be outdone Yarm bounced back with another unconverted try. Half time score ended at 10-10.

The crowd banter was great, this was going to be a good game and what played out in the second half proved them right. With both teams dealing with soggy underfoot conditions and some unorthodox handling it was pretty much stalemate for a time until Yarm once more broke free to score a try but this time it was converted. 10-17. For a while, as the time started ticking down, the local supporters got behind their team. With only two minutes left on the clock their prayers were answered when Kitching was fed the ball from some slick handling and ran in to score, which he duly converted himself, close to the touchline, a magnificent effort that left the supporters in awe. His conversion ended the tie 17-17 at the final whistle much to the relief of all at Aycliffe.

The tie ends a small run of defeats and there was a lot of positives to carry forward to the next league game scheduled against arch-rivals Richmondshire on 7th December 2019 at home at Moore Lane. Aycliffe Rugby Club wish to thank Steve Thompson for his continued sponsorship from his company The Mortgage Advice Centre.

Aycliffe have no fixture this week on 30th of Nov. However, there is a squad training session planned for Saturday. Any new or old players interested in joining the session will be made most welcome. There will always be room for more senior players at this great club.

Prior to the 1st XV match Aycliffe hosted another training session as part of their KIDS RUGBY initiative. These training sessions, mostly run by Director of Rugby, Peter Ryans with help from qualified coaches, whom have all been DBS checked, are proving to be a growing success. Numbers are going up week on week and it will never be too late to bring your kids down to try the sport. It’s all fun based, with lots of skill and team building exercises. The kids loved wallowing in the wet mud this weekend. The more the merrier, so talk to your kids, bring them down and let them have a go. The sessions start at 12.00pm and finish at 1.30pm. For any further information please contact Peter on 07796 172599.