The long wait for Astley Community High School’s first fixture for the new rugby academy was well worth it.
Astley started and ended the game much the stronger side against Durham New College and ran out 46-4 winners.
Durham could not handle the speed of the home side’s play.
Astley have a core of players who have played rugby union for Seghill or rugby league for Cramlington, which allowed a lot of natural partnerships to form from both codes to give the academy a unique playing style.
They dominated from the off, completing their first set of possession and then forcing Durham into an early mistake.
Astley took control of the ball and moved it wide for M Hall to score near the corner.
They continued to press hard under the commands of R Clough at half-back and soon scored again, with J Bell darting over from dummy half.
J Mavin, was successful with the kick taking the score to 10-0 to the home side.
Mavin continued to run hard from full-back and crossed for a try, which he also converted to make the score 16-0.
Astley continued to press, knowing that a strong start to any fixture is vital and they soon took a commanding lead when joint man of the match B Purvis crossed out wide to make it 20-0.
Mavin struck again before half-time to take Astley out to a 24-0 lead going into the break.
After the break Astley started a bit slow with coach Carbutt playing some of the younger players with the view to developing them for next season.
Durham took advantage and replied with a try to make the score 24‐4.
However, the joy for Durham was short-lived as Astley soon regained control and began to assert their authority once more.
Further tries from P Ballantyne (2), B Purvis and R Hearne took the final score out to 46-4.
A serious leg injury to winger Karl Wenn at the end of the game soured the mood in the Astley camp.
He is making a strong recovery and in his words “will be back playing in no time”.
His attitude typifies the spirit within the Astley teams and everyone at the academy wished him all the best.
Astley’s forthcoming fixtures are Wednesday, November 6, Gateshead College, home, 2.15pm; Wednesday, December 11, Bede Academy, away, kick-off TBC.