New-look South Shields Westoe face must-win game

South Shields Westoe are now sponsored by Benfield Motor Group
South Shields Westoe are now sponsored by Benfield Motor Group

South Shields Westoe open their doors at Wood Terrace tonight for any supporters wanting to watch the opening game of the Rugby World Cup on their new big screen, as England take on Fiji.

But tomorrow is a bigger game for the club as the the Benfield-sponsored side’s First XV play host to Northern in a match sponsored by Novo Quantum Ltd (3pm).

This is a must-win game for the club in order to revitalise their shaky start to the season and is being advertised as ‘Wear the rose at Westoe’ with the club having Hope Swan singing Jeruesalem before kick off, while the ball boys who will help out at the World Cup games at St James’s Park next month will also be in attendance.

South Shields Westoe have played their first two games away from home, both of which ended in defeat in this new North One East League. The lack of experience has caught the young side out at times, yet the scorelines have flattered the opposition as in both games it was extremely close at the end of the first half and the last 20 minutes in the second half they were found lacking due to a combined lack of match fitness and structure decisions.

Chairman Ian Etchells and his committee remain resilient in their revised ethos of promoting from within the club, utilising the club’s very strong junior section and looking at players from within the area as the main source of recruitment for the senior teams.

He said: “We have a young side with all bar a few players coming through the junior ranks and they need time to find their feet in this new league which is proving to be stronger in terms of opposition than what was expected.

“Teams are very organised, physcial and experienced and this is something we all intend to get to grips with soon.

“What has not helped the club in this season was losing six prominent senior players to recently relegated Tynedale and these positions have been filled by the younger players who will improve further into the season.

“Together with our new club, main sponsor Benfield Motor Group, our management and our coaching team we intend to embark on this new journey and are all working hard to provide a comprehensive coaching regime of which it is hoped will rub off on to the new young playing squad.”

The West Nautical-sponsored Development Team are also in action tomorrow, travelling to Gateshead for their Candy League fixture.

Sunday sees the start of the junior teams’ season with the under-13s playing Durham City at 10.30am, followed by the under-15’s also playing Durham then at 1.30pm the successful Colts team take on Billingham.