KELLY’S EYE ON RUGBY: Horden nominated for Hartlepool Sports Awards

ROSS THE BOSS: Ross Brymer on the attack for Horden at West Hartlepool.
ROSS THE BOSS: Ross Brymer on the attack for Horden at West Hartlepool.

EVERYONE loves a ride on a rollercoaster, don’t they?

All those highs, the frightening speed and the scary drops, it’s exhilirating.

Horden have been riding on a rollercoaster in 2014 and, currently, they are on a distinctly unpleasant and uncomfortable part of the attraction, if you forgive Kelly’s Eye’s American-ism.

The colliery side are bottom of North One East and at the weekend picked up their first point in the division with a losing bonus point in a 22-15 derby defeat at West Hartlepool,

But tomorrow night they can enjoy their high again.

Horden RFC have been nominated for club of the year at the Hartlepool Mail Sports Awards.

The Northumberland Street outfit are on the shortlist with the winner being announced at the swanky bash at Hardwick Hall in Sedgefield. I might even have a look in myself to see if I can get my nose in the trough.

Horden’s participtation is very worthy.

The 2013-14 campaign was one of their greatest seasons in the history of a club now in its 90th year.

The First, Second AND Third teams all won the leagues they play in.

Their First XV romped through Durham Northumberland Division One, the Second XV the CaNDY League and the Third XV the Tees Valley title.

Paul Armstrong and his Second XV lifted the Pyman Cup, beating West Stags in the final, while the Third XV lost out to Westoe in the final of the Durham Third Teams Cup.

But, fast forward on six months and these are desperate times.

Horden have lost half their championship-winning side through a mixture of departures/unavailability or injury.

It has been tough going in the league and the struggles with having a depleted squad have, not surprisingly, had a knock-on effect with the lower teams suffering some heavy losses.

Kelly’s Eye saw Horden for the first time this season at Brinkburn and was impressed by two aspects of their play – the attacking intent and their spirit.

West wasted a lot of opportunities but Horden’s defence was outstanding, refusing to buckle even when down to 13 men.

Horden showed some ambition going forward, looking to use the attacking attributes of the back three of Ros Brymer, David Heckles and Carl Oliver.

But the whole team need to try to catch them up if they are to exploit those fellas.

Now, when a man of my waist size questions a team’s fitness, it brings one or two responses.

The first often involves a potential for violence towards my chubby chops from those who are the subject of the question. The second often involves accusations of gross hypocrisy as fingers and uncontrollable laughter are aimed at my highly-developed belly.

And there can be no arguments about that; I am too fat and too slow. That’s one of the few true things that’s ever been written in this tissue of lies.

Horden have some gems in their side but until the side can compete for longer and harder then they will only be seen fleetingly. That would be a shame.

Well done Horden for your award nomination and this season ain’t over yet. There is still hope but the lads need to put in the hard yards.

ONE of the sad parts of life is that we all know it has to end sometime.

But over the last week, two beautiful young human beings have been taken far too early, Rhys and Ellie Mae.

I have a daughter of my own and my heart goes out to the families and friends of the two teenagers.

There will be no words I can write which can bring any consolation but I hope, in time, the love which poured in from countless Poolies will provide comfort. And how poignant it was to see Rhys’s Hartlepool Youth team-mates with his name on the backs of their jerseys.

Rugby people have been coming together for 21 years for one well-known rugby figure, Peter Wilgress, who was taken before his time.

The forward, universally known as Wilf, died following a West Third XV match at Harrogate in 1993.

Every year he is remembered on the field in the Peter Wilgress Memorial Game.

Last year’s event was a bit of a struggle, the match still going ahead but on a more abbreviated basis.

Given the event is now 21 years old, there are fewer and fewer of Wilf’s former comrades who are still capable of pulling on the boots.

But, it is important that even those who never met Wilf, mark not just the prop’s life but the sport that was his life.

As mentioned in previous Kelly’s Eyes, he was not one of the game’s high fliers.

He simply loved a game of rugby on a Saturday and a beer – or three – on the night.

Rugby is a game for all ages, abilities as well as shapes and sizes and the town can mark Wilf’s life and what the sport means to its people, a great game and camaraderie.

My old mucker, Andy Quinn, would love to hear from players who will take part in this year’s match, at Brinkburn a week on Sunday.

Kick-off time is a very friendly 12.30pm. Let’s remember Wilf.

SATURDAY was not a great day for our local clubs, unless you are a Westie or an Old Boys fan – Hartlepool can’t stop winning after making it four in a row after a victory at Whitley Bay Rockcliff.

Seaton Carew, the success story of the season so far, had their bubble burst by Ponteland but they have a chance to bounce straight back this weekend at lowly North Shields. Good luck to the lads.