Hartlepool BBOB sealed a seventh win in the annual ‘Boys Brigade World Cup’ on Saturday.
The North East version of BBOB defeated Northampton BBOB 52-24, taking the ‘World Cup’ description as there are no other clubs that sport the BBOB title.
The event began in 1997 when Northampton character ‘Strawberry’ brought a bunch of rugby mates to Hartlepool to celebrate his bachelor weekend - and 10 visits later saw his 20th turn-out!
The initial occasion was to prove worthwhile as it is understood that Strawberry is still happily married - and has managed to remain a loyal Northampton BBOB clubman.
Though not quite as active as in years gone by, he did manage to accompany the pack during a scoreless first half for the somewhat ‘jaded’ tourists.
The first match between the two clubs saw the Old Friarage lads win 41-36, to keep the ship’s bell, presented by Robert Trueman, in Hartlepool.
The following year in Northampton, the victory was repeated once again by a close score.
The ensuing years, however, have seen Northampton gain a greater share of results with 13 wins.
A single match was drawn and Saturday’s game brought Hartlepool’s total to seven.
Hartlepool certainly looked sharper from the start and scored four tries at regular intervals during the first half.
Andrew Arnell opened the home account with the first of his four match tries, repeating his tally of last week against Yarm.
Gorman converted both this and the next try from Andrew Davies.
An individual effort from Dave Hetherington produced the best score of the game. Breaking the tackle in his own 22, his initial pace took him to halfway with a change of direction allowing him to beat the cover and touch down in the corner.
Northampton began to claim more of the possession with full back Mark Underwood prominent in a number of moves.
However no points were scored and Arnell’s second try made the half-time score 26-0.
The Northampton half-time talk must have included some form of threats of ‘Tour’ penalties as the rejuvenated visitors worked hard to gain four good scores with two conversions.
Mark Underwood was again their key player and awarded Man of the Match.
Hartlepool still largely held the upper hand and good possession from the set pieces created opportunities for five scores from Arnell (2) Davies, Donnison and Gorman.
Phil Gorman was judged by the visitors to be Hartlepool’s Man of the Match.
The occasion was honoured by the presence of Durham County President, Tony Wilson of West Hartlepool, who spoke of the value of rugby traditions and friendships at the pre-match reception, held in the Cosmopolitan Hotel.
Following an enjoyable and entertaining game, supporters and players in particular were keen to head to the Cosmopolitan for the usual post-match hospitality. Andy Collier presented the ‘World Cup’ Trophy on behalf of Northampton to Andrew Arnell and also spoke of the importance of player commitment if clubs are to overcome difficult stages.
The Peter Kegans Memorial Trophy, awarded to the visiting Man of the Match, went to Mark Underwood who has played on each tour since 1997.
A match collection and raffle raised nearly £200 which is to be donated to the RFU choosen charity, The Armed Forces Family Fund.