In March Aysgarth won the ultimate Rugby prize. A chance to experience life as professional rugby players by receiving their own coaching session at Kingston Park.
The pre-match training session was held on Thursday with help from Newcastle Falcons Community Foundation coaches and first team players. The school team and their supporters then returned to Kingston Park for their game, to be played against Mowden Hall School , where they were able to prepare on the pitch and in the first team changing rooms and had their game recorded by the Falcons’ video analysis team.
Gordan McLelland stated: "This was a once in a lifetime opportunity for the boys and an experience they will always take with them in future. It was amazing to be offered such a prize and the boys were all past themselves with excitement!"
And here is the match report:
Aysgarth School’s visit to Kingston Park 'Home of the Falcons' 11/10/14
The fixture between Aysgarth and Mowden Hall Under 11’s kicked off beneath sunny skies and atop the pristine playing surface of Kingston Park. All the boys were excited at the prospect of representing their respective schools at this prestigious venue, in front of a vociferous band of hardy spectators. Aysgarth won the toss, conducted in the tunnel outside the 1st XV changing room and elected to kick off. Early possession was shared equally between the two combative teams with neither side gaining dominance in the opening exchanges. Max Falkingham won the first scrum of the match against the head and this led to an attacking move from the Aysgarth backs. Mowden’s resilient defensive line held firm and several thundering tackles snuffed out the attacks as quickly as they began. Further turnovers allowed the Aysgarth captain and fly-half Freddie Read to launch successive attacking moves with his North of England teammate Elliot Ainscough. Ainscough’s exhaustive efforts were well dealt with by the Mowden back line, who tackled him two men at a time, but his presentation of the ball in the tackle meant that the Aysgarth momentum was sustained. Mowden repelled wave after wave of blue shirted boys and grew in confidence, eventually streaking down the Aysgarth left wing with a rampaging run from their physical second row player. Mowden pressurised the Aysgarth line but this time it was the boys in blue who made repeated tackles to snuff out the move. A rangy run from Ainscough, from deep inside his own twenty two gained valuable territory and from this Aysgarth launched an attack, setup by honest graft from the forwards and finished by assured hands and the fleet feet of Aysgarth winger Wilson Williams, who dived under the posts to register the first score, just before half time.
The second half began in the same vein as the first, with possession and attacking opportunities oscillating between the two sides. Both sets of forwards battled between themselves for superiority but it was Ainscough who stole through the narrowest of gaps to snatch the second try of the tie, with Read converting to establish a 12-0 lead. This was quickly extended by the same combination of the irrepressible Ainscough and the reliable Read to render the score 19-0. Ainscough then capitalised on a fine run from Oliver Martin to finish off a fine backs move, scoring under the sticks for his third try of the encounter, Read converted, bringing tally to 26-0. The final Aysgarth try came through Oliver Martin, who received the ball close to the half-way line and scampered down the touchline for a wonderful score. This was converted by Read to make the advantage 33-0. Mowden continued to press and it was fitting that after the final hooter had sounded they persevered with their efforts and crashed through to score a try of their own which, when converted, meant that the final score of a pulsating contest was Aysgarth 33 Mowden Hall 7.
The Under 13 match began immediately after the junior players had left the pitch and Aysgarth returned the Mowden kick-off through the powerful running of school captain and North of England representative Robin Guthe. Slick handling propelled the Aysgarth team forwards and resolute tackling from Mowden was negated by some excellent offloading from the rampant Aysgarth back line. After a frenetic fist five minutes Guthe received the ball twenty metres out and crashed through the defence to score in the corner. Aysgarth attacked immediately from the kick off and only a magnificent tackle from the Mowden Hall full back denied Aysgarth centre Roman Khidirbekov. Quick ball ensured that the attacking momentum was sustained and in the fifth phase of possession truculent prop forward, George Southall, crashed through a stretched defence to score Aysgarth’s second try. The conversion was coolly slotted by the confident boot of Archie Senior. A further Aysgarth try was scored immediately following the kick-off after the indomitable Chris Totty gathered a pass inside his own half and rampaged his way through the entire Mowden defence to touch down a spectacular solo effort. The onslaught from the boys in blue showed no indications of abating and Henry Langford gratefully seized an opportunistic off load from Theo Kace to race through the Mowden defence, scoring under the posts to extend his side’s lead to 22-0. The Mowden Hall boys refused to concede in their quest but they were powerless to thwart the back row combination of Guthe and Totty combining with fluid hands to propel Totty over for his second try of the tie. The teams ending the half with Aysgarth 29-0 to the good.
The second half began as the first had ended, with Aysgarth setting the tempo and scoring early, this time through the energetic Khidirbekov. Mowden pounced on a sloppy ruck from the Aysgarth team and stole the ball, resulting a prolonged period of possession within the Aysgarth twenty two, but robust defending prevented their pressure procuring points and Aysgarth cleared. An even passage of play allowed both teams to enjoy attacking moments with both defences holding firm, until a forward surge, finished by Woody York gave Aysgarth five further points. Additional tries from Robert Davies and Archie Senior brought a breathless encounter to an end, with the score 47-0 in Aysgarth’s favour.
The players from both teams thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to apply their skills at the premier rugby union venue in the North East and all committed themselves admirably, representing their schools and themselves with distinction. We are indebted to Newcastle Falcons for their hospitality, professionalism and generosity in organising the event for us, and we extend our unreserved gratitude for their efforts.