MATCH REPORT – Newcastle Thunder 98 – 6 West Wales

Newcastle Thunder rounded out the 2018 Betfred League 1 in emphatic style at Kingston Park on Sunday afternoon with a 98-6 demolition of West Wales Raiders.

Setting a new club record for their biggest ever margin of victory, it was an impressive performance with the club giving opportunities to a number of the emerging talents that have been developed via the club’s ever-improving academy system, with Thunder fielding a 17-man squad of which 10 players who had come through those structures.

All played pivotal parts in a thoroughly professional display during which Newcastle were in total control throughout.

Thunder’s intent was clear from the off as they launched a threatening attack off the first set with only a loose pass drifting forward as the ball was worked with preventing the score.

It was just a temporary respite though, as the home side broke the deadlock on five minutes through Tyler Craig, with a well worked passing move finding the centre out wide and allowing him to speed between the last man and the touchline for an unconverted score.

Thunder stamped their authority on the game over the course of the following ten minutes with Niall Sidney the man of the moment as he breezed his way to a first half hat-trick thanks to some crafty work from his team-mates and his own developing skill set.

With the hosts 24 – 0 up after Craig added his second by fielding a well placed kick, the Raiders enjoyed a short period on the front foot after Thunder were penalised for pulling back a defender in a footrace to a loose ball on the visitors line.

After forcing a goal line dropout on the first set, Harrison Elliott powered his way through three tacklers mid way through the next for a try he then converted, but it would be the last time the visitors meaningfully challenged their hosts.

Thunder went on to extend their lead to 36-6 by the break with debutant Alex Clegg and Remy Marginet adding a brace before the half time hooter, before completely dominating the second half with a further 11 tries.

The floodgates were opened through a trademark Lewis Young slip out of the tackle, allowing the fullback to dive for the line before established performers and fresh-faced newcomers all got in on the act.

It was one of the latter who followed next as Rory Nettleton announced himself to the 889 fans packed into Kingston Park’s East Stand with a spectacular try that saw him bounce off the attentions of one defender, before rounding the full back for the first of two tries.

Ali Blair opened his account for the afternoon as he wrestled his way to the ground after taking a forceful pass from Young that opened up space for the winger to exploit before another youngster, Ollie Gowing broke the defensive line 40m out from the line before streaking away for his first of the day.

Sticking to their task, the Raiders did manage a passage of play that applied some resistance to the onrushing storm that Thunder were producing, but it wasn’t long before the hosts got back into their stride.

Sam Luckley was the man to spark things off as he stretched out to finish a move that looked to have been stopped by three Raider’s defenders, before Blair added his second by ensuring good breaks and interplay by Vincent Rennie and Evan Simons didn’t go to waste.

A mazy run that weaved its way through a host of defenders allowed Conor Fitzsimmons to put himself onto the score sheet before Sidney’s fourth put Thunder on the cusp of setting a new club record for the biggest ever margin of victory.

That mark was only set back earlier in 2018 against Hemel Stags, but it was rewritten thanks to Craig’s third try of the game in the closing stages.

It wasn’t the end of the day’s action though, as Gowing and Nettleton’s converted second tries of the day took Thunder tantalisingly close to a three figure score, though that was a bridge to far as the ball was lost forward as the hosts try to play from deep in the dying embers.

It was however a thoroughly impressive day at the office and one that shows the great promise that exists within the Thunder ranks for both 2019 and the longer term future.

Newcastle Thunder

Lewis Young, Ali Blair, Tyler Craig, Alex Clegg, Niall Sidney, Tom Shaw, Remy Marginet, Vincent Rennie, Evan Simons, Liam Scott, Conor Fitzsimmons, Jed Charlton, Sam Luckley, Adam Bielby,  Ollie Gowing, Rory Nettleton, David Weetman

Tries: Craig (3) Sidney (4) Clegg, Marginet, Young, Nettleton (2), Blair (2), Gowing (2), Luckley, Fitzsimmons,

Goals: Shaw 10/15 Marginet 3/3


West Wales Raiders

Kurtis Haile, Liam Silver, Rowland Kaye, Craig Lewis, Aseru Biutanaseva, Fraser Stroud, Luke Williams, Dalton Desmond-Walker, Steven Parry, Morgan Evans, Archie Snook, David Kearns, Harrison Elliott, Macauley Harris

Tries: Harrison Elliot (24)

Goals: Elliott 1/1


Referee: B. Robinson

Attendance: 889