Beer and rugby at festivals

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As well as a range of beverages, those who go along to beer festivals at Morpeth and Ponteland Rugby Clubs this weekend can enjoy some sporting action and live music.

And at Morpeth, the games will include the crucial promotion play-off encounter – the first XV will return to the North One East division if they win.

This is the second year for Ponteland and the third for Morpeth and both promise to be the biggest and best yet.

Beers, ciders, wines and fizz will be available, along with some hot food.

The event at Mitford Road, Morpeth, kicks off on Friday at 6pm and it will run until 11.30pm. There will be a set from local band Rudi between 8.30pm and 10.30pm.

On Saturday, day two of the festival starts at 2pm. One hour earlier, the game between Morpeth Marauders and Malton & Norton Tourists will begin.

Morpeth RFC finished second in Durham and Northumberland Division One, which means they face Malton & Norton (runners-up in Yorkshire Division One) for the final promotion spot. Kick-off is 3pm.

During the afternoon, there will be live music from four acts, including vocalist and DJ Lewis Denny and local female performer ‘Along Came Lola’. The band for the evening, which will play from 8.30pm to 10.30pm, is Scratch.

A number of businesses have sponsored the beers and ciders at the event, which finishes at 11.30pm on Saturday.

One of the organisers, John Stafford, said: “We have plenty to offer on both days, so those coming along will enjoy a weekend full of entertainment.

“As well as the drinks, there will be some high-quality music acts and we also have the bonus of Morpeth’s big play-off game on Saturday afternoon.”

In Ponteland, the Friday evening session runs from 6pm to 11pm – last orders will be called at 10.30pm.

Rhythm and blues band The Junco Partners will start their performance at 7.45pm.

On Saturday, the event takes place between noon and 11pm. There will be games of rugby involving the club’s U16s team (1pm kick-off) and Colts side (2.30pm kick-off).

The live music comes from The Pete Rea Band (from 4.30pm) and The Richard Kain Band (from 7.45pm).

Main organiser Andy Maidwell said: “We’ve built on last year’s inaugural event as there will be 103 beers and 25 ciders, compared to 43 beers and 10 ciders in 2014.

“We’re hoping to get 2,000 people coming along and ticket sales for both days are going very well. There will be a good range of food, including our own bangers.

“Club members will be in good spirits as we won the league title (Durham and Northumberland, Division Two) as well as the Northumberland County Plate.

“We’re very grateful to local businesses as we’ve received a great response to the sponsorship for the beers and ciders.”

Admission for the Morpeth festival is £10 – this includes a glass, two beer tokens and a programme. For more information, call Mr Stafford on 07968 161085.

Tickets for the Ponteland event are priced £12.50 (includes a glass, three beer tokens and a programme). Check with Ponteland Leisure Centre (01661 825441) for availability.