4th November 2018, 11:00 | ncl_division_3

2018 NCL Division 3 League Review

2018 NCL Division 3 League Review

By Mark Chestney

Once again, we have come to the end of a superb season in the flagship league of the amateur game, the Kingstone Press National Conference League. 

Teams have come and gone, some triumphed whilst others faltered and another went the entire season without a single defeat.  

It all began back in March culminating in the Grand Finals on Saturday 6thOctober. 

In Division Three, Beverly were one of the new kids on the block but showed no nerves as they opened their season with 11 wins on the bounce. 

With Hull FC and England prop forward Scott Taylor at the helm, they look to be a force to be reckoned with. The received automatic promotion after ending the season with 1 defeat and 2 draws, scoring 902 points (majority via Josh Poskitt) – a great team effort shown across the season. 

Barrow Island had a storming season, bouncing back from an opening loss to win 9 of their next 10 games. Blain Marwood has been instrumental in their rise, and as such was rightly recognised via his Player of the Year nomination. 

The side gained the 2ndautomatic promotion spot through their 6-game winning run at the end of the season. 

After winning their first six games of the season Clock Face Miners were looking to storm the league, but following a downturn in form the side ended up in the playoffs.  

Ending the season on 27 points, they faced Millom and Woolston Rovers in the playoffs, both of whom they defeated to grab the 3rdpromotion slot. 

Karle Hunte was the man for tries, but it was the crucial goal kicking of Jack Highcock which certainly helped in many games.

For Millom it was a season to contemplate following relegation from Division Two. Tom Sibley was player coach, leading from the front both on and off the field. 

A period of the season they put together a 6-match winning streak, placing them in contention for an automatic promotion place. However, they had to settle for a playoff position, narrowly losing out (12-16) to Clock Face Miners. 

Former Premier Division champions Woolston Rovers showed promise throughout, but unfortunately fell short towards the end of the season. They made playoffs but went down to a 19-6 defeat by Clock Face Miners. 

Despite only making 15 appearances Lewis Hoarty was influential for Rovers with 25 goals and 4 tries, whilst Harry Files was leading try scorer. Ryan Brown also had a good season picking up four man of the match awards. 

Eastmoor Dragons had a decent season, finishing 3 points behind the leading pack and posting 601 points within the league. Ady Mulcahy was the main man for them in notching 212 points from 21 appearances. 

Mulcahy picked up 5 man of the matches and was well supported by such players as Daniel Johnson, Shaun Upson and Ryan Kelsey. The side missed out on promotion, finishing 6thfollowing a defeat away to Clock Face Miners. 

Dewsbury Celtic had to settle for mid-table, having struggled with consistency through the back end of the season. 

Pat and Paul Foulstone led the way for Celtic as they scored 150 points during the season between them. 

3 victories in their opening 10 games saw Oldham St. Anne’s struggle to have a real impact on Division 3. They did have 2 big wins against the luckless Salford City Roosters when they scored 140 points and conceded only 20 combined. 

Saint’s scored 660 points during the season littered with tries coming from all angles, especially Matt Whitehead who scored 14 to add to his 91 goals and 2 drop goals for 240 points.

Gateshead Storm lost four of their last 5 games, which saw them lose their chance at making playoffs. 

They scored over 500 points with Zach Clark notching 182 of them with 15 tries and 61 goals. The side finished in 9th, having won 8 of their 22 games. Top try scored were Michael Mitchell, Daniel Chetwynd and James Pocklington. 

It was yet another tough season for Waterhead Warriors who managed 7 wins from their 22 games played. 

Waterhead will no doubt regroup and come out fighting for 2019 having finished in the bottom placings once more. 

Salford City Roosters had a tough season and deserve much credit for the way they conducted themselves throughout.

In Paul Morgan they had the inspiration to keep going despite the adversity they were under and always gave 100%. Salford used around 50 players across the season, and as such struggled to find consistency. 

Two sides withdrew from the league this season,Blackbrook towards the start of the season and Stanley Rangers in late June.