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Home: Non Football Related: Other Sports: Re: [The Moose] Where are you going - where did you go? RUGBY UNION: Edit Log

Feversham Lens
Chelsea Transfer Target

Oct 8, 2011, 8:04 PM

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Re: [The Moose] Where are you going - where did you go? RUGBY UNION or Reply Privately

Saturday 8th October 2011
Hartlepool Rovers 26 Gosforth 3 (HT 13-3)
Durham Northumberland Division One
Admission 3 (including 20pp programme; 8pp photocopied about today's game in 12pp glossy shell)
Attendance 140 (h/c)
Tea (in a mug) 60p

After everything derogatory I said about rugby union last week, I find myself at a bit more hunt, punt and grunt this. Put simply, there was no football I fancied (or rather ticked my minimum requirement boxes of offering a new ground and a guaranteed programme) within sensible driving range. Refreshingly, Hartlepool Rovers are much more of a working class outfit than RU clubs generally appear to be. Their ground, The New Friarage, home since 1948, is located in one of the grottier parts of a horrible town, assuming what used to be called Hartlepools has any swanky districts. It's nearer to Hart and the Headland than West Hartlepool, where the modern town centre developed around the railway station.

The New Friarage is a ground I've wanted to visit since first glimpsing it, many years ago, from a train on the adjacent Durham coast railway line. Up until the 1970s, Rovers, founded in 1879, were one of the stronger union clubs in the North, and their facilities reflect this former status. There's terracing (nicely unkempt, with weeds permitted to prosper) and two stands, one the sort of delightfully rickety cover which is disappearing from football, and the other an all-seated structure now minus its roof. Not quite as drastic a pruning as at Workington FC, but not far off. The clubhouse is unsurprisingly large (we all know that what goes on off the pitch in union is far more important than events on it), and dominates the West Hartlepool end. Glass cases in the foyer contain some fabulous Rovers-related memorabilia (shirts, caps, medals, programmes etc) going back to the club's early days. The ground is trapped between two towering railway embankments (one disused), which give the impression of being about to stage a potentially deadly pincer movement. Oh, and there are floodlights. On old-fashioned pylons, to boot. Instant favourite with me, this set-up.

The grey, uninviting North Sea is about 150 yards from the ground, and the game was played out in mizzle. You could taste the salt in the air. Quite a contrast to last week's sweltering heat at Barnsley. Once-mighty Gosforth, reborn during the late 1990s in the wake of meddler-in-chief Sir John Hall's Newcastle Falcons ego trip, dominated the opening quarter, but had only a penalty to show for their territorial superiority. Rovers, who had won their four previous league games, collecting a bonus point on each occasion, replied in kind twice, and added a converted try in stoppage time for a 13-3 interval lead. The visitors had their moments in the second half as well, but Rovers eased away with two more tries (neither converted) and a penalty. With more composure in the Gosforth 22, they'd have had another bonus point.

Enjoyed this. Uncompromising stuff in miserable weather. Reminded me of the rugby league I watched as a lad at Fartown and Thrum Hall. Mind you, there were far more basic errors in this match!

(This post was edited by Feversham Lens on Oct 8, 2011, 8:11 PM)

Edit Log:
Post edited by Feversham Lens (Chelsea Transfer Target) on Oct 8, 2011, 8:06 PM
Post edited by Feversham Lens (Chelsea Transfer Target) on Oct 8, 2011, 8:07 PM
Post edited by Feversham Lens (Chelsea Transfer Target) on Oct 8, 2011, 8:08 PM
Post edited by Feversham Lens (Chelsea Transfer Target) on Oct 8, 2011, 8:11 PM

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