Dave Campbell’s FROM THE TOUCHLINE on-line Guisborough Shield quarter-final

31 Jan

WHAT A DAY! GAME OVER AT DINNINGTON

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Guisborough travel south tomorrow in high spirits having lost only two games in their last twelve and looking to advance to the semi-final of the Yorkshire Challenge Shield at the expense of Scarborough. They have a three year unbeaten record at their Belmangate ground and sit third in Durham/Northumberland One behind leaders Horden and Blyth; both of whom they have beaten earlier in the season.  Last week they had far too much for visitors Stockton and ran out comfortable 48-5 winners over the mid-table side. The men in black and gold have scored four or more tries on twelve occasions this season and have lost only four games, all away from home; at Darlington, Stockton, Gosforth and Hartlepool Rovers; a very impressive record. Coach Lee Douglas’ charges on the other hand made an impressive start to the season losing only one in our first ten games. However, they have won only two of their last eight, at Acklam before Christmas and against Heath here at Silver Royd in the first game of 2014.  Last week, arriving in benign weather conditions at Dinnington, Chris Purdy won the toss and chose to play up the slope in the first half; however when the teams came out for the kick-off they were greeted by a storm of biblical proportions; rain, hail, and a gale blowing down the slope directly in their faces to say nothing of thunder and lightning. Harry Domett scored a try in the opening minute of the game but with everything in their favour weather-wise, Dinnington took control up front and scored four first half tries to lead 24-7 at halftime.  Miraculously the weather cleared up completely for the second forty minutes and the south Yorkshiremen went on to deservedly win 34-7 and go top of Yorkshire One. 34-7 was our biggest defeat of the season by a very long way.  For tomorrow’s game Tom Harrison returns at fullback, Billy Parker plays in the centres and skipper Phil Watson joins Matty Oxtoby in the second row. Being a Shield game there are four substitutes; Ryan Pickering, Joe Lenton, Blake Nightingale and Tommy Goodman. With their league chance now gone, the Shield is the club’s only hope for success this season but it won’t be easy; Guisborough knocked out Bradford Salem with a 38-22 home victory back in November and with their outstanding league form, will start tomorrow’s game as favourites. Phil Watson’s men will have to produce something special to progress to a semi-final against Selby who beat York 34-24 in their quarter-final under lights on Tuesday.

TRY SCORER HARRY DOMETT IN ACTION AT DINNINGTON

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The RBS Six Nations Championship is for me the greatest rugby tournament in the world, bar none and like everyone else I’m excited ahead of the kick-off tomorrow. Unlike competitions in the southern hemisphere, the distances travelled, in international terms are minimal and therefore there is greater sporting and social atmosphere surrounding the games; next week I’ll tell you some of my best stories from the tournament. Now to rugby; the French, who were resting whilst the cream of British and Irish talent were in Australia last summer, could again be favourites this time, although anything would be an improvement on last year’s wooden spoon effort. England with a refreshed back line are in Paris tomorrow and the outcome of the clash at the Stade de France could set either of the protagonists on the road to a Grand Slam.  Champions Wales and Ireland have home ‘bankers’ against Italy and Scotland respectively and should start their campaigns on a positive note. I’ll of course be reporting on the Scarborough-Guisborough game tomorrow afternoon but will be fighting for a place in front of the big screens in the J.M. Guthrie come Paris kick-off at 5pm. 

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