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Home > News > Westoe Weekend Preview
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12
MAR

WESTOE take a break on Saturday ahead of next weekend’s Durham County Cup clash with Mowden Park.

But supporters seeking some action have a choice of watching the Seconds confront Northern at Wood Terrace or the Thirds play a rearranged game against Ponteland at Oakleigh Gardens, both of them Northumberland League fixtures starting at 3pm.

And on Sunday, the Colts travel to tackle Darlington in the semi-final of the Durham County Under-18 Cup which kicks off at 1pm.

So it will be a fortnight before Gareth Nesbit’s men resume their North One quest against visitors Liverpool St Helens who are languishing in third bottom place.

It is little consolation to the big fella that his team, who are on a seven game winning streak, are assured of the third top spot, being nine points ahead of fourth-placed Birkenhead Park with just three games left to play.

Having finished third both seasons since being promoted as champions of North Two (East), he and his players had set their hearts on achieving National Three status this campaign.

With unbeaten Kendal pretty well assured of the crown, it is still statistically possible for Westoe to steal the runners-up spot from Huddersfield, and so have a play-off chance of promotion, but the odds on it happening are very long, indeed.

It would mean the Beacon Electrical (NE) Ltd-sponsored Shieldsmen picking up all six remaining points and the Yorkshiremen, beaten only twice so far, losing all three.games.

But Nesbit hasn’t abandoned all hope..

He pointed out that Huddersfield, who beat Westoe 9-5 in a closely-contested game on their own turf in November, come to Wood Terrace on April 12 and declared: “At least that result is in our own hands.

“They also have to go to Sheffield Tigers where only Kendal and ourselves have come away winners and their last match is against Altrincham Kersal who could well still be battling hard to avoid relegation.

“For our part, we must just concentrate on winning, and if we do that, then you just never know.”

*There was, understandably, sadness at Westoe this season when the Senators, that doughty band of veterans who brought so much distinction to the club, had to drop the name when there were no longer enough old ‘uns to justify it and the team simply became the Fourth XV.

But good has come from it. An influx of Colts have brought their own vitality to the side which has the Northumberland 3B League championship in its sights as well as being in the final of the Durham Fourth Teams Shield which the Senators came rather to regard as their own property after winning it the past six years.

And these youngsters will obviously benefit from cutting their rugby teeth alongside stalwarts of such pedigree as the captain Derek Tighe, Derek Kirton, Charlie Watkins, Richard Elliott, Ian Booth, Bruce Woodhouse, Mark Morris et al.

On Saturday, teenagers Michael Booth, Ian’s son, scored all three tries and Stuart Woodhouse, Bruce’s boy, converted two of them and kicked a penalty to account for all the points in the 22-0 win away from home against Medicals 11. A third, Adam Thompson, had a cracking game on the wing and others have acquitted themselves splendidly.

The benefits of this harmonious fusion of youth and experience will be reaped in seasons ahead.

*The third annual reunion of members of the former Readheads Rugby Club is again being held on Saturday, April 12, in the Westoe clubhouse where tickets, costing £5, will be on sale or they can be obtained from organiser John Graham (tele; 4569023).

Beginning at 7.30pm, this is a fun event to which all are welcome and is held in memory of Don Mellish, a popular player with the old shipyard side who, when it folded, became a regular at Wood Terrace where he made many friends.

Proceeds this year will be donated to the children’s ward at South Tyneside District Hospital.

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