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Sun 9 Dec Bishop U13s 32-31 Billingham (W)

After a few weeks without a game due to fixture cancellations and bad weather, the Under 13 were hoping to carry on where they left off after their romp versus Houghton on the 18th November.

The opponents were Billingham, visiting West Mills for the 2nd time of the season and hoping for a similar result to their October Cup win, when the match had been tied at 31-31.

Billingham kicked off long with a strong wind behind them, where the ball was caught by full back Toby Dart who ran the ball back to the 40 yard line. Bishop then conceded a penalty for what looked like a high handoff from Matt Brunskill. Billingham ran the ball and tall centre Oscar glided through the Bishop defence unchallenged to give Billingham a 5-0 lead with only 2 minutes on the clock.(Billingham 5-0)
This slow start with an absence of tackling seemed remarkably familiar to the last game v Billingham when Bishop had been 6-31 behind, before mounting an incredible 26 point comeback to tie the game. The coaches gave them a swift reminder to front up quickly.

Bishop kicked off and won the ball at a scrum following a Billingham knock on. Harry McCalvey moved the ball left and Adam Summerbell made a strong break directly through the middle of the Billingham defence. A ruck resulted and this time, McCalvey changed the direction of the attack and set Toby Dart free to beat the defence around the outside, and touch-down in the corner. (Bishop 5- Billingham 5)

Only 4 minutes gone and it had been an all action game so far. However, now the game moved into a period where not much happened. Finley Crossen made a good run out of defence for Bishop, and later when Billingham had the line beckoning , Adam Summerbell made one of his trademark tackles to stop a certain try. However, for most of this period Billingham were the dominant attacking force and eventually on 12 minutes the Billingham scrum half went over for a simple try from the back of a scrum .His blindside dive over the line seemed to take Bishop by surprise as they had no defenders anywhere near him, and not for the first time this season, the Bishop defence had gone totally to sleep. (Billingham 10-Bishop 5)

Bishop didn't seem able to raise themselves from their slumbers. They had plenty of possession, but all too often the forward with the ball was completely isolated as Bishop committed few forwards to the rucks, meaning a succession of ball was coughed up for the Billingham forwards to swallow.

Another long break from the impressive centre, Oscar, took the ball 50 metres before he was hauled down by full back Toby, but, after 2 successive rucks which were easily won, Billingham went over again to make it 15-5 right on the half time whistle


Bishop made a few subs at half time, including one tactical switch, with Jamie Redfearn coming on at full back and Toby moving to the wing.
Bishop looked a lot more lively right from kick off, and Toby was set away down the left wing. He made a thumping run which took out a lot of Billingham defenders, and he managed to find 2nd row Robert Aither who crashed to the line in his own trademark style to grab the 2nd Bishop try. It was converted for the first time in the game . (Bishop 12 -Billingham 15)

Bishop were now playing with the wind behind them and fly half Harry McCalvey chose to use it to their advantage. He hoisted a long kick downfield where it was fumbled by the Billingham full back, the Bishop centres wiped out a couple of Billingham defenders and Adam Summerbell picked up the loose ball, and then ran it over the line from 15 yards out. The conversion was kicked by Jamie Redfearn to give Bishop the lead for the first time in the match.(Bishop 19 -Billingham 15)
The quick change of fortunes was quite a surprise, and another was in store when the referee stopped the game and asked the captains and coaches to come on the pitch for what seemed like a long disciplinary warning.

Bishop started to throw on subs at this point and due to some miscommunications almost had too many players on the pitch -this was narrowly avoided although it seemed to affect the players who let the big Billingham 2nd row score to regain the lead for Billingham. (Bishop 19 -Billingham 20)

Bishop subs continued to join the action and Grimley, Ma, Finnis,Armstrong and Eales all joined the action to freshen up the team. Will Shepherd, who had joined the action at scrum half, now opened the play and Toby made another dart down the wing, eventually cutting in and feeding Jamie Redfearn, who rampaged towards the Billingham line. He was stopped but Shepherd fed No 8 Sam Hamilton who crunched into the posts and eventually over the line to regain the lead for Bishop. Sam converted his own try.(Bishop 26 -Billingham 20)
Bishop further extended their lead just a minute later when from a line out close to the Billingham line, Robert Aither crashed over in the corner for his second try of the game . Sam Hamilton punched the air in delight as he converted from wide out to give Bishop a 13 point lead with 6 minutes to play. (Bishop 33 -Billingham 20)
Bishop seemed home and dry but their old problem came back to haunt them when they allowed Oscar, the Billingham centre, to speed up the field without them laying a finger on him, and he scored under the posts, which for the first time for the away team was converted to make the score (Bishop 33 -Billingham 27)

The game was becoming rather bad tempered and after a ball was knocked forward the referee awarded a penalty for Bishop following abusive language from the Billingham no 8.The penalty was moved forward 10 yards into kickable distance following some further bad languge. It seemed this was the time for the home side to secure the win by kicking the 3 points -but Bishop as England did recently at Twickenham, chose to go for the line and score a try. Unfortunately, the tap penalty was lost forward and after another breakout through countless poor tackles Oscar, the centre, laid if off for his fellow centre to score near the posts and leave the score at 33-32 to Bishop.

The kick to win the game was never easy for the Billingham fly half and the pressure was probably too much as his kick, although a good one just slipped the wrong side of the posts.

The referee blew the whistle with the final score Bishop 33 Billingham 32.It was the second classic game of rugby that these two evenly matched teams had played this season and was I am sure enjoyed by most of the crowd.

Sadly, at the end of the game there was some rather nasty abuse aimed at the referee by a member of the visiting crowd which rather ruined the day and atmosphere created by the great rugby. This set a very bad example to the young players around him and I hope the person in question looks back on this behaviour with regret and apologises to his team and fellow supporters.

FINAL SCORE Bishop 33 Billingham 32
Toby Dart,Finley Crossen,Sam Ward,Adam Summerbell,Oliver Thompson,Harry McCalvery,Jordan Gallone,Matthew Brunskill,Lewis Foulger,Daniel Shield,Robert Aither,Dean Belshaw,Owen Hallett,Sam Hamilton,James Argument
Subs -All Played -Jamie Redfearn,Will Shepherd,Kailum Grimley,Eason Ma,Byron Eales,Isaac Armstrong

Mike Dart


On a cold and windy Sunday morning the u11's travelled up the western bypass in convoy to Ryton. With the wind against the team the first half it was going to be a tough game especially as Bishop were the victors when this fixture was played at home, Ryton had something to prove. The game started with Bishop putting pressure on the Ryton defence Will, Liam and Kiera defending well when the home team were on the counter attack. Then a break from Sophie had the Bishop players chasing down field for the tryline, the ball was passed along the attacking line with James ready to receive it, straight to the corner. Then the game went from bad to worse as Ryton stepped up a gear Bishop missed tackle after tackle and let Ryton through to score three tries one after each other.

Bishop became frustrated and lacked their usual disipline this proved to be their downfall as Ryton kept on scoring, nothing seemed to be going their way. The team did not give up although the cold did seem to get the better of some players. James managed to pull one back just before the halftime whistle

Halftime score 40 v 10

Following the TEAM TALK from coach Peter the Bishop players came back with a vengeance and they did themselves and their coach proud. Trying to move on from the first half, improve on their mistakes and take advantage of Ryton�s mishaps. With the return of Jordan from injury he was keen to show all what he was capable of and set up the first try of the second half for Luke who had not showed his form during the first play. Bishop still fought hard with Jack doing his usual railroading through to score a further two tries and Ben making an almighty run down field to within a meter of the tryline before being tackled by the Ryton defence.

As the game went on Luke seemed to find his form and tries, with the help of Nathan and Blaine who themselves were on for the tries but were both smashed by the Ryton defence again a meter or so from the tryline. The wind got colder, the crowds still cheered, the game went on, the team picked up a couple of injuries and had to restructure but right to the end they all played well. The final overall score 55 v 40 to Ryton a very close and even matched game.

A huge thank you to ALL the parents and families that made the long journey and supported the future players of Bishop Auckland Rugby Club.
Tries scored by: James (2), Jack (2), Luke (4).

and LUKE
PLAYER OF THE WEEK: LUKE REDFEARN for not giving up and showing great determination

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