Brave Novos no match for the champions
By David Addison
Without several regulars Novos were put to the sword by an impressive Darlington outfit who are deserving champions of Division One.
It doesnt come much tougher than a trip to the league leaders when you are already relegated and it was no laughing matter for the 17 players (Including Coach Rob Jones and an injured Stew Wilson) who braved it. For all of the bravery the Tynesiders were ruthlessly ripped apart by the top side in the division.
Novos, cruelly hit by injuries and unavailability, had no answer to the well-drilled routines of the side who have lost just once at home all season.
It was Novos heaviest defeat of a long season, and the 21st from 25, It must be said however, that they were considerably below strength, with an inexperienced team that was almost thrown together - in the circumstances, Novos can draw some comfort that they travelled and toughed it out.
Novos even staged a grandstand finish, making a rare appearance in the Darlington 22, and winning a long series of penalties five metres from the line. Darlingtons defence however was not to be breached until Ben Merrett forced into a role as an emergency centre stole in to intercept right on full time and sprint over to score - unfortunately unlike Jonesy touch rugby rules, last try wins was not applied!
After the 80 minutes both sides were waving goodbye to rugby at this level Darlo moving up, Novos moving down. The gulf in class between Division One and the league above is big - you only need look at Gateshead and Team Northumbria to see how much tougher Darlington will be challenged next season but they are fully deserving of their position there and we wish them well.
For Novos next week we welcome fellow relegated side Ashington and with no pressure we hope to see a good game before preparation starts in earnest for next season and a reslove to never allow this seasons results to be repeated.