John, of course, was a giant second row who played for both Harlepool Rovers and Old Boys in his youth before going on to play for both Saracens and West Hartlepool in the old first Division which is now The Premiership. Sadly, John collapsed and die while playing in a match at Morley for West Hartlepool 25 years ago.
In the club house I was greeted By Rovers stalwart Brian Bambrough who was as usual, busy doing all the pre match jobs. An extra task was created when the opposition “ Novos” turned up with identical playing shirts to those of Rovers and Brian had to find a change strip.
Novos are coached by former West second row Kevin Westgarth and I had a chance to chat to Kevin before the match.
It was one of the few in the Hartlepool area to survive the frozen pitches that lead to most being cancelled. This is one of the advantages of the Friarage pitch being so close to the sea.
In a very close hard fought match Rovers took an early fifteen point lead and were force to desperately defend it by a Novos side that dominated in scrum and lineout situations. The match was decided by a last minute penalty kick that gave Novos a 15 - 17 victory.
Sunday I was at West Hartlepool where the healthy future of rugby in the county was demonstrated. In the morning there were seven mini and two junior matches played, and in the afternoon the county under fifteens squad played twin matches against Cumbria.
Durham under 15 Bishops team lost narrowly to Cumbria under15 Bears 11 – 15
Durham under 15 Princes Team beat Cumbria under 15 Hawks 19 – 12
In both matches the standard of play was a credit to all the players and coaches involved and bodes well for the future of both counties.
No report next week as it is a non-league Saturday so I am off for some R&R in the sun.