South Shields Westoe face high-flying West Leeds at Harton Technical College (NE34 6DL 3pm) tomorrow in the play-offs for promotion to North 1 East.
Westoe have had a superb season to date, become a powerful force in the league and have shown that they need to only improve by small margins to either dominate their current league or compete to a high level in N1.
The coaching team of Graeme Smith and Chris Judson have given the team direction and confidence and the Westoe faithful have seen a re-emerging force in the home-grown side, who have journeyed together from minis, through the junior section and into the senior ranks.
Resisting the trend of buying in Marquee players, Westoe have shown that success can be bred from within, and that has fuelled a winning mentality and produces fine results.
Built on a solid defence, Westoe have had fewer points scored against them than anyone else in the league.
A large part of their success must be accredited to the strong leadership from club stalwart Andy Kirton. Son of ex-county and Westoe player Derek, Andy has been part of the squad for years and has developed into a destructive player on the pitch.
Half of the twin towers; Kirton and Younghusband in the second row, he has helped to build a great spirit amongst the team, both on and off the pitch.
West Leeds are also turning heads themselves in Yorkshire 1. Finishing second in a competitive league, they are also heading to Twickenham in a couple of weeks for the Intermediate Cup Final.
The impartial supporter will be hoping for another thriller of the calibre of last week’s match against Barnard Castle, where the lead changed hands many times, including twice in extra time.
Westoe showed their resolve by taking the win, despite being down to 13 men.
Westoe are looking forward to seeing more of the ‘big hits and smashes’ of recent weeks, and know that the crowd will get behind their side 100%.
Team selection is still a closely guarded secret, but has yet to be finalised.
It is likely to be the last game under the control of Chairman Ian Etchells, who has led the return to Westoe’s policy of an integrated Community Club.
Westoe would like to thank him for his tenure, and for the sterling work carried out by Club Secretary Suzanne Etchells, and the rest of the committee over the last two years.