NMRC Wins Inter Provincial Rugby Cup
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Northumberland Masonic Rugby Club (NMRC) regained the Alice Gingell Memorial Trophy but Charity is the Real Winner.

Saturday 14th June 2014 and on a gloriously sunny afternoon, the Masonic Rugby Clubs of Northumberland and Durham met at The Percy Hedley Foundation, Killingworth, Newcastle upon Tyne to contend for the Inter Provincial Masonic Rugby Cup.

At the inaugural game in 2012 Province of Northumberland was the winner. Durham was the current holder having won the second match at Darlington RFC in 2013. However, in 2014 Durham had to surrender the Alice Gingell Memorial Cup back to Northumberland. 45 – 26 was the score-line which was closer than suggested with both teams extremely competitive.

The Percy Hedley Foundation supplied the ground but the Northumberland Masonic RC had organised the displays and stalls, including the donated pies from Greggs, the local Bakers in an attempt to raise as much money as possible for this year’s chosen charities, Bright Red (the children’s blood cancer charity) and our host, The Percy Hedley Foundation. In addition to these stalls, there were buckets going round, as well as displays from the Widow’s Sons Masonic Biker’s Club, and MUSHER (a Husky rescue charity) and the sled racing organisation. Climbing frame was erected by the Army cadet and live music was provided by various acts who will be appearing at the forthcoming 2CC Family Variety Show at the Tyne Theatre at 1pm on Sunday 20th July. There was also a demonstration of Wheelchair Rugby and having seen a demonstration of their game, we can easily attest that they are complete and utter maniacs. It truly lives up to its nickname of Murder Ball. Thanks also to both Provinces who had stalls to promote Freemasonry.

However the main event was the Rugby. Masons from both Provinces were there in strength showing terrific support for both teams. Our very own NMRC President and Deputy Provincial Grand Master Designate, David Lillie as well as Durham's Deputy Provincial Grand Master, George Clark were both in attendance along with many other distinguished Brethren.

Northumberland beat Durham but as mentioned, the game was competitive and there was nothing to separate the teams going in 19-19 at the half time. It was only midway into the second half when with both sides locked at 26 all, Durham suffered the double whammy of losing two of their more influential players to injury, David Frew (hamstring with 1 try & 1 conversion) and Andy Burlison (twisted ankle). This caused major problems at the backs and Northumberland took full advantage to score 3 tries and took the score to a seemingly bigger margin than the play would have indicated. Northumberland top scorer was Dan O'Sullivan with 4 tries, Stewart McCraken with 2 tries and Colin Barron getting on the score sheet. Durham top scorer was Asgier Nilsen who tottered up 9 points from a try and 2 conversions.

We now look forward to defending our Trophy next year and I am sure our hosts in 2015, Durham will already be preparing and continuing to raise the bar on this ever growing initiative which has raised over £6,000 since the NMRC formation in 2011.

In the meantime, a date for your diary: The annual 2CC Charity talk night which includes the cheque presentation to both charities will be on Friday 17th October 2014 at Byker Masonic Hall starting at 7pm. Commercial Travellers Lodge No. 3700 will be holding its regular meeting with the difference that the Rugby Players wearing club ties will be received into the Lodge as a Fraternal Delegation. The Lodge will be called off when representatives of the two charities will be welcomed and they will give a talk on their work allowing us an insight as to where our money is spent. The Lodge will be then called back on and when the Lodge business is complete, the Brethren will adjourn to the Festive Board.

Any Brethren wish to get involved in either the Northumberland or Durham team, please make contact with NMRC Secretary, James Horner or DMRUFC Secretary, Richard Hogg who would be delighted to hear from you. Contact details are available from either Byker Masonic Hall Facebook, by contacting Byker Masonic Hall or by contacting either Provincial Office.

Finally many thanks to Michael Graham of DMRUFC for much of the information supplied on this press release.

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United Grand Lodge of England