Whitley Bay Barbarians looking to build on last season’s performances

For a long time rugby league side Whitley Bay Barbarians regularly finished bottom of the league following the open age side reforming in 2003.

But in the summer of 2011 times changed for the better as Barbarians picked up their first win against Winlaton Warriors and from there the team went from strength to strength.

Last season turned out to be the most successful year on record, with both a convincing performance in the league alongside a strong run in the cup.

After only managing to gain a single point from the first two games, the team went on a winning run in the league to the end of the season, finishing top of the table ahead of early favourites Gateshead Storm A.

North Yorkshire Wildcats, inflicted the only defeat on the Barbarians in the opening round.

Following a nine-game unbeaten league run the Grand Final saw the Barbarians take on Gateshead Storm A for the final game of the season after the two sides met earlier in a spectacular game for the neutrals.

The never say die attitude of the side showed in the final when a moment of magic from Aidan McCallion finished off what was a great comeback.

On the cup front the Barbarians convincingly saw off Miners RL and Warriors RL to bag a semi-final show down with Darlington RL, which was narrowly lost after a hard effort by all involved.

The team benefited from having former Championship and Challenge Cup winner Seamus McCallion as head coach, bringing in his wealth of experience to improve the side.

On the field, former Bradford and Featherstone academy player Kyle Wharton made his debut, having an outstanding impact resulting in both a man of the match Grand Final performance and picking up Players’ Player of the Year.

Another debutant, Ian Hardisty, also played a big role in the team’s success, picking up Player of the Year. Other shout outs went to 16-year-old Leon van Zandvliet, Young Player of the Year, and Canadian Steve Lenahan claiming the Man of Steel award.

Looking forward to 2015, the Barbarians have lined up a tough start of pre-season fixtures, travelling to face Castleford Panthers of the National Conference Division 2, and a second charity game this time for Marie Curie on April 19 at North Shields RFC.