Despite the battering from “the Beast From the East”, NURL made the 7-hour, precarious journey down South to take on the highly regarded St Mary’s University, in what can only be described as Arctic conditions. The match looked unlikely to go ahead as even some of St Mary’s indoor sports had been cancelled, however, both teams were determined to honour the fixture.
NURL’s game plan was simple - psychological warfare. St Mary’s trekked through the blizzard only to find some of the weather-hardened NURLians snow-angelling, which I’m sure those acclimatised to the tropics of London must have regarded as mental.
The game kicked off with both teams chomping at the bit, with Newcastle aiming to avenge the defeat under the same circumstances of two years previous, whilst St Mary’s wanted to prove the Premier South is never to be taken lightly.
Newcastle’s cleverly worked moves, crafted on the training field after hours of work, were too much for St Mary’s defence
Aggressive defence from Newcastle’s Bash Brothers allowed NURL to secure the upper hand, and ultimately leading to the first try from a decent solo effort from a lumbering Billy Sturdy. With this, the flood gates opened. Newcastle’s cleverly worked moves, crafted on the training field after hours of work, were too much for St Mary’s defence as Adrian “Nibbler” Dalglish lolloped over in the corner for the second. England stars Ged Mawdsley and Jason Bass linked up well, for Jason to drive over the line for the final try of the first half as NURL went into the changing rooms 14 points the better.
St Mary’s were not to go down without a fight, however, but Newcastle were able to improve further and continue to dominate. Another timely break from Jed the Head saw Liam Tasker finish in the corner in what seemed like slow motion.
Further tries from Scotland star Matt Hogg, who had only landed back in the UK from a 24-hour journey from Australia the day before after representing Scotland as the captain in their successful u23’s 9s tournament in Brisbane, Sam Norris and Jason Bass saw the game finish with a convincing 34-0 victory for Newcastle.
The game was a brilliant opportunity to showcase the most successful team Newcastle have had in the previous 10 years and it was an excellent spectacle to be involved in.