North East rugby round-up

PERCY Park will meet Morpeth in the Northumberland Senior Cup final as they look to win the trophy for a third successive season.

PERCY Park will meet Morpeth in the Northumberland Senior Cup final as they look to win the trophy for a third successive season.

Saturday’s semi-final – a repeat of the previous two years’ finals – saw Tynedale Raiders beaten 20-10, with the Preston Avenue clash seeing no shortage of physicality.

It was the visitors who began the brighter, assuming a 10-0 lead as lock Jonathan Cousin broke from the back of a line-out to score under the posts.

Full-back Toby Davidson added the conversion and a long-range penalty, but Park reduced the half-time deficit to five when prop Joe Wafer charged his way over after Michael Stephenson had been held up over the line.

With the wind at their backs Percy Park ended the stronger, centre Ali Blair rounding off a left-to-right passing move to draw the sides level on 45 minutes.

An Ashley Smith penalty from half-way nosed the hosts ahead and, after being held up over the line on three separate occasions, the match was sealed when No 8 Bret Sylph tapped a quick penalty and bundled his way over.

In the RFU Intermediate Cup, Stockton’s date with Alnwick did not take place due to the latter’s withdrawal from the competition, while the Junior Vase tie between Newton Aycliffe and Prudhoe and Stocksfield was postponed.

In the Senior Vase, Blyth won 31-0 over Winlaton, with two tries from Andy Barker, and one apiece for Graeme Sutherland, Dean Langdown and Andy Sutherland.

In women’s rugby, England ensured a series whitewash over New Zealand courtesy of their 32-23 Twickenham triumph.

Skippered by South Shields’ Katy McLean and with Newcastle’s Sarah Hunter as vice-captain, another convincing performance against the world champions continued the Grand Slam winners’ gradual build-up for the 2014 World Cup.

Head coach Gary Street said: “The players were once again outstanding and they showed tremendous mental strength to get through this series and win it 3-0.

“There is a lot of trust in this group and that shows every time a squad member pulls on the England shirt. We may not have won a World Cup for many years, but we are definitely the number one side in the world at the moment.”

 
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