Blyth celebrating an historic season

Blyth RFC's 2011-12 promotion winning squad.
Blyth RFC's 2011-12 promotion winning squad.
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BLYTH Rugby Club members attending last week’s annual general meeting heard that the 50th anniversary season just ended was also the most successful of the club’s history for the first XV.

The highlight came in the last game at Whitby which ensured promotion to Durham/ Northumberland League 1 as Blyth go up as champions having lost only three games during the season, breaking a 40-year club record in the process.

The team’s only other defeat came in the RFU Intermediate Vase against eventual finalists Wath upon Dearne from Yorkshire.

Chairman of rugby Carlos Correia reported that in scoring 1,128 points the team had smashed the previous highest points record of 1,044 set in the 1971-72 season.

And the team has achieved this in only 25 games whereas the previous total came from 37 matches.

Winger Andy Barker smashed another long standing record for most tries in a game when scoring six against Yarm, contributing to an impressive total of 27 for the season.

Club chairman Bruce Ledger thanked coaches Dave Massie and Richard Calvert for their contribution during the season, helping develop a largely young squad of players with a running style of play which had yielded more than 150 tries and an average points tally of over 45 per game.

Sadly, both are stepping down because of work commitments but had laid the foundations for future success.

He also commended the leadership of Tony Smithson in completing a fourth successive season as captain.

This in itself is a club record and Smithson is willing to continue in the post for a further year.

Ledger went on to report that in other respects it had been a mixed year for the club.

Most amateur sports clubs were finding fundraising difficult in the current economic climate and Blyth was no different.

The club was still paying for the first class changing facilities recently opened but raising money and gaining sponsorship was increasingly difficult.

On the positive side, the club had managed to field four successful adult teams for much of the season.

In addition, the youth section had been active running seven age group teams from under-7 to colts.

Youth sides were vital to the future and in this respect the club said it had been pleased to be able to work closely with Bede Academy in providing an active sport for young people.

Finally, thanks were recorded to the outstanding service given by Roger Phillips, who was standing down after 25 years as the first XV manager and club press officer.

He had contributed a huge amount of time and effort in the roles and will be a difficult act to follow.