2017 Stan Calvert: Friend and Foe Face-Off in Stan Calvert

2017 Stan Calvert: Friend and Foe Face-Off in Stan Calvert

Pals Jason Payne and Chris Parker met at the weekend when their teams clashed in the Stan Calvert Cup at Druid Park.

Payne’s Team Northumbria locked horns with a Newcastle University side led by Parker in the M1 Rugby League fixture.

And the favourites ran out 24-10 winners – M2 Rugby League winning their clash by virtue of a walkover.

TN already lead the BUCS Premier North table, with four places between themselves and their cross-town rivals, but Payne was taking nothing for granted.

“I was hopeful we’d be able to get the win but I was also very cautious.” He said. “I thought we should have enough to beat Newcastle but I knew it would be close.

“We’ve had a great start to the current season, we’re putting in some good performances and building on what we did last season.”

Northumbria approached the match in terrific league form after winning the league and reaching the Championship final in 2016. But a number of first-team regulars were out on professional duty.

“It was a different game to us, in that we had a totally different team out,” Payne added. “We had seven or eight lads coming into the first team for the first time.

“We’ve had a great start to the current season, we’re putting in some good performances and building on what we did last season.”

– Jason Payne

“It was be a big step up for those guys but at the same time they’re more than capable – I was absolutely certain they’d give a good account of themselves.

“Those lads have been playing well for the twos, and now they have their opportunity.”

Despite his relationship with the Newcastle coach, Payne maintains that the match is much more than a friendly rivalry.

“There’s certainly a little bit more to it than that.” He said. “It’s obviously quite a deep-rooted rivalry, it’s been going on for years. We take it incredibly seriously and we want to get a win every time.

“I know that Chris’ players get up for Stan Calvert more than any other game.

“The toughest games we’ve had against Newcastle are always in Stan Calvert.”

Stan Calvert victory sets up Northumbria for the second half of the season and the team’s goals remain as high as their 2016 benchmark.

“We’re really hungry to go better than we did last year,” added Payne.

“We’ve got the playoffs coming, and hopefully we’re down in Bath for the BUCS Big Wednesday.”

 

By Danny Gee