THE 2019 amateur Rugby League season in the North East has bedded in nicely and Cramlington Rockets chairman Jeff Ball, whose own club started well, is delighted by progress in the area as a whole.
Ball said: “After the first four rounds of the North East Men’s season only two sides remained unbeaten.
“Former RFL club of the year Cramlington Rockets and Edinburgh Eagles sat atop the table with four wins from four, the Eagles’ points’ difference of 188 marginally edging the Northumberland’s side’s 184.
“It is a mark of progress for both sides that were on the wrong side of last season’s silverware, the Rockets missing out to Wallsend Eagles in the Grand Final while Edinburgh also lost out to their namesakes in the NE Cup final in their first season in the North East competition.”
He continued: “Missing out last season gave added weight to a 40-12 away victory for Cramlington against Wallsend, to go with big wins over Catterick Crusaders, Durham Demons and Hartlepool-based newcomers West View Warriors.
“The Wallsend win was also important for Cramlington, due to the make-up of the squad. Thirteen home-grown players turned out that day, further emphasising the excellence of its junior section.
“We’re very realistic that it is early days, but we have started the season well. Head Coach Danny Gilroy has got the lads firing and there are a lot of familiar faces in the squad, including some players who have left us for university or work, and now returned to play. The new faces have added to the squad and everyone is integrating well, and they are building a good platform for the season ahead.”
Ball reflected: “Edinburgh were unable to gain revenge against Wallsend in the first round of the cup, falling 21-16, but have kept a clean sheet in the league against Peterlee Pumas, Catterick Crusaders, Durham Demons, and by Wallsend forfeiting their fixture due to being unable to raise a team due to injuries.
“Amongst the other runners and riders, former champions Jarrow Vikings cemented third place having only fallen to West View this season, the Warriors having hit the ground running with victory over Durham Tigers seeing them take the final top-four spot.
“Amongst the other notable results so far this season, Demons took bragging rights over Tigers in the Durham derby to leave the Tigers sitting at the bottom of the table with only Peterlee Pumas below them on points’ difference.
“With Glasgow RL also entering the men’s cup competition and new clubs in the junior leagues in the form of Wallsend Centurions and Hartlepool Hurricanes, the North East is continuing to show strong growth.”