On a sunny day at Preston Playing Fields, life time member Arnie Wilson captained North Shields’ veteran side in a match to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the formation of the club.
Ashington Vets provided the opposition, fielding a strong side on the day with some big players in their ranks and a sizeable bench also giving them the numerical advantage.
The match kicked off and in true veteran style as both teams started things through their forwards.
Ashington got the first points on the board when they went quickly off a tap and go penalty and scored under the posts which was converted.
Within no time the visitors were back up in the scoring zone and crashed over for a second try after numerous missed tackles from the old legs.
It was Thomas Rendles and Ian Hook who started to move things forward for Shields as they began to crash through the gain line. However, once again missed tackles let Ashington in for an easy try which was converted.
It was about 20 minutes into the game when Shields got their first points on the board and it was centre Rendles who hacked the ball up field, with Dave Hardy picking up the loose ball and diving over the line. The conversion was added.
Ashington were not lying down, though, and they responded immediately with a fourth try, unconverted to give them a 26-7 interval lead.
The second half saw Julian Jamieson stepping onto the pitch and he made an immediate impact, crashing up field with the ball in his hands.
This built momentum up and Shields began to play some impressive rugby with their forwards and backs interchanging well.
It was the Blues who got the first points in the second half with a fantastic team try.
From a lineout a maul was formed and as Shields began to march up towards the try line scrum-half Tony Hansen passed to fly-half Crombie. He span a looping miss pass to Julian Jamieson who then drew his man and put Simon Morgan away in the corner to round off a great team try, Crombie converted.
Unfortunately just as the comeback seemed on, Ashington once again hit back with an unconverted quick try.
It was now Fenwick Taylor’s chance to show he has still got it as he began to break numerous tackles and make a lot of ground with some fantastic individual runs.
Indeed it was Fenwick who passed to Rendles who stepped passed several players and then switched with Morgan who scored another fantastic try, unconverted.
Ashington then scored two tries in quick succession and left the comeback near to impossible.
However, that did not stop the never say die Shields spirit as Paul Walsh drew his man and then unleashed Morgan for his third try of the day, converted.
In the last play of the game Ashington scored another try to round off an impressive performance by the visitors as they won 50-24.
Overall a fantastic game and a great way for North Shields to celebrate their 90th anniversary.
A big thank you went to Ashington.
Man of the match on the day was hat-trick hero Simon Morgan, who played some clever rugby throughout the game and showed good speed and strength to score each of his tries.
The squad for the day was: Simon Morgan, Ian Dickinson, Peter Dyers, Dave Hardy, Ian Hook, Dave Kinsey, Bruce Parker, Iain Pearson, Tony Hansen, Cameron Pearson, Bruce Jeffries, Mark Greenwood, Paul Walsh, Thomas Rendles, Gary Crombie, Julian Jamieson, Chris Spedding, John Jones, Mel Taylor and Fenwick Taylor.
Next weekend Shields play host to touring side Eccleshall RFC, with a 3pm kick-off at Preston playing fields.
Then the week after that it’s the annual end of season game between the club’s over-30 and under-30 players, The Chestie’s Challenge.