South Shields Westoe hope to storm the Castle in DN1 opener

Andrew Kirton.
Andrew Kirton.

South Shields Westoe RFC kick off the new season in Durham & Northumberland 1 tomorrow with a home clas against Barnard Castle.

For both teams, this will be their first matches in this league due to Westoe having been relegated from North 1 East last season and Barnie being promoted from DN2.

Due to the last cricket matches being held at Woods Terrace, the match has been moved to the 3G pitch at Harton Technology College with kick off at 3pm.

This season, the Shieldsmen are under the coaching guidance of Westoe old boy Graeme Smith.

Smith is a RFU Level 2 coach returns to the club after cutting his coaching teeth at DN2 club Blyth for the last few seasons.

Smith, who will be also putting his boots on and along with a number of other senior players, will bring a wealth of experience which was lacking last season, with what was a very young and inexperienced team.

The Second team will be travelling to Barnard Castle for their first Candy League match.

The team is being captained this season by Tom Younghusb and has a mixture of senior and Colts players travelling.

Club and first team captain Andrew Kirton said: “There is a good vibe around the club this season.

“The players are rejuvenated with the new coaching, and are ready to fight for promotion straight back to N1E.”

Both clubs, along with other clubs in Durham County, will be holding a minute silence before their matches in respect for John Drummond, a 33-year-old player from Sunderland RFC, who lost his battle with cancer in August.