1st XV
Sat 23 Mar 2024  ·  Counties 1 Durham & Northumberland
Novocastrians RFC
1st XV
Tries: D Gittins (2), B Jubb, L Matthews, J Allton, R MerlaneConversions: H TankardYellow Carded: L Matthews, G Bambrick
Novos 32, Ryton 30 - Against the Odds Victory

Novos 32, Ryton 30 - Against the Odds Victory

Magnus Leask23 Mar - 22:23
Share via

It didn't look like Vos were going to get across the line today but the spirit of the side was there for all to see.

Novocastrians ran out 32-30 victors as they overcame an impressive first 20 minutes from Ryton to seal an epic comeback in style from 17-0 down. Both captain George Bambrick and scorer of the try of the season contende,r Johnny Allton charging down a kick in the dying moments of the game to secure the win.

The first 20 minutes of the game was a carbon copy of when we hosted Ryton at Sutherland Park as the home side scored 17 unanswered points within the first 20 minutes, playing some clever rugby with the wind at their backs. Two early yellow cards were handed out in these opening minutes both to Novos colours, perhaps overenthusiasm from us away from home, but Ryton took their chances without hesitation and took advantage of our lesser numbers in the scrum scoring 3 tries back-to-back from set pieces.

Novos would quickly get the ball back in their hands however, and after securing lineout ball on a very windy pitch eventually we would be awarded a penalty. Rhys Merlane saw opportunity to pounce before offloading to Ben Jubb who then fed Dylan Gittins. With work to do the back rower ran it in from 40 metres, stepping inside Ryton's 15 to finish in the corner. Kicking was near impossible in the wind so 17-5 is how the scoreboard stayed.

Not for long however, as we soon hit 15 phases in attack from the result of a great 50/22 from Barney Youlden who moved to fly-half to accommodate for an unfortunate knock to Lewis Chaters' head. After 15 phases of ball in hand playing some smarter rugby against the wind, eventually Jubb saw a weak point in the defence and crashed over for a second Novos try. Aan impressive team try that saw every member of the squad have an impact in getting over the line.

In many aspects it was a tricky day for Novos away from home, but that didn't stop the team from scoring multiple contenders for try of the season, the first coming from Dylan Gittins as he scored his second of the day. A great offload from Jeremy Hunt released George Bambrick and with even more work to do this time, Gittins weaved in-between the Ryton 9 and 15 to score a stunner under the sticks. Conversion added this time by Tankard, and it was 17-17 all with everything to play for. Ryton added a penalty on the stroke of half time to edge the lead going into the second half 20-17 but given the opening quarter of the fixture Novos were delighted to be within 3.

After pressure on the Ryton line early into the second half, a knock on was forced and possession was turned for Ryton to clear their lines, before Sam Busby hit an excellently weighted kick for our second 50/22 of the day, awarding another lineout close to the Ryton line. After some newfound energy in attack Alex Watson crashed over but was deemed as held up over the line. A goal line drop out would follow and after identifying space on the blindside Louis Matthews refused to be tackled before dotting the ball down to give us the lead for the first time in the match, 22-20.

We refused to let up the pressure still, a clearance kick was chased up from Brandon Gilbert and with the help of Johnny McSorley and the rest of the front row we countered the ruck to turn the ball, Jubb saw space in an unorganised Ryton line before deciding he didn't have the wheels to finish the line break, passing to Rhys Merlane to score in the corner. 27-20.

We would score one more try on the day for what would secure us the eventual victory, and it was without a doubt, the standout score from either side on the day coming from the stallion himself Johnny Allton! Straight from the next kick off the ball was taken by Bambrick who offloaded to Dylan Gittins again who in turn released Allton on the far wing. From close to 65 metres out the second rower fended off a tackler before stepping the oppositions scrum half acting as full back to score a try that will go down very fondly in the memory of the travelling supporters. 32-20 and now we had a game to defend.

Ryton would score two back-to-back tries in the corner despite being reduced to 14 men in the closing stages of the game, from this point onwards the character of the 18 as a whole would be tested and after some spirited goal line defence, Bambrick and Allton charged the attempted drop kick to end the game 32-30 and secure ourselves at least a 3rd place finish in the league with the final standings to be decided next week with one game left to play.

Special thank you to Ross on behalf of the club, who joined us for his final league game of the season on Saturday before he travels to Hong Kong for the sevens circuit! His efforts have been crucial to our results this season and is a great physio and an even greater bloke!

Thank you to Simon Rhys Williams for officiating - set the tone early doors and demanded high standards at the breakdown. Not sure either side listened well as 5 yellow cards were distributed between the teams. We must do better at rolling away after our tackle - something we hope to put right at training.

Good luck to the Ryton boys for your last game away to Bishop Auckland. Out of all the sides that have come and gone in recent promotions you look like you are here to stay. A huge set of forwards and a much better back line in this game with a balance of power and pace. We look forward to next seasons games already.

Well done to our lads - amazing to having a meaningful Saturday as our last game on the 13th April vs Medicals. All options still on in the unlikelihood that Sunderland and Guisborough both lose. Not that we need any added motivation when playing our neighbours from across Chilli Roundabout.

Up the Vos !

Match details

Match date

Sat 23 Mar 2024



Meet time



Get to training Thursday please - plans to agree


Counties 1 Durham & Northumberland

League position

Team overview
Further reading

Team Sponsors

1st XV Sponsor - Infinity Car Care
Shirt Sponsor - Apta Vita Physiotherapy
Club Sponsor - Audi Newcastle
Shirt Sponsor - Carlin Hall