By JUST H JOHNSON
Northallerton first team advanced to the quarter final of the National Cup with a 38-18 victory away at Sunderland RFC.
Northallerton will now play a team from over the hills, in the glorious Lancashire area at a venue to be decided on 16 March 2019.
North took the lead after only five minutes following good work from the Tasmanian devil Ashley Rio who looped behind Norths centres to create a man overlap out wide, before releasing Sandy ‘50 shades of’ Gray to score a unconverted try near the corner flag.
Ten minutes later North stole a Sunderland lineout ball and a good carry by part time model Harry Laking set up a try for Rio under the posts, which made his conversion straight forward.
Sunderland briefly got back into the game and were rewarded with a penalty after twenty minutes.
Just before the half hour mark quick ball from the base of the scrum from Jack Radcliffe to Rio set up Sam Taylor for his first try of the day. Rio adding the conversion to increase Norths lead to 19-3.
Only two minutes later a brief lapse in concentration gifted Sunderland with another penalty which they gratefully accepted.
Just before half time excellent work from Radcliffe who ‘scragged’ the home team scrum half at the base of a ruck and therefore earning North a scrum ten metres out. From the ensuing scrum more good work from Laking allowed the 50 year old but younger Dicko lookalike, Doug Welsh to go over a unconverted try.
Half time 24-6.
Two minutes into the second half Taylor intercepted a loose Sunderland ball well inside his own twenty two metre line and raced the whole length of the field to score under the posts. Rio adding the conversion.
Although North were well on top they began to suffer three or four injuries, including one to young Taylor, and were forced into using all their replacements. These changes allowed the home team back into the game and gifted them two tries. The first being a well executed catch and drive from a lineout, and the second being a pushover try from a controversially awarded scrum. The scrum was awarded when the referee adjudged North had carried the ball over their own try line despite it appearing from nearby that the ball was already over the line before Marsay touched it down.
These scores brought Sunderland right back into the game and forced North to dig deep despite having a couple of walking wounded still on the pitch, they were also forced to reintroduce a one legged Sam Taylor for the last five minutes.
Two minutes from time good clearing out from replacement Dave Baker created room for Jonny Frank and Jedd Bainbridge to set up Taylor who managed to hobble over the line for his third try. Bainbridge adding the conversion.
Final score 38-18.
Man of the match was unsurprisingly awarded to Sam Taylor, though it was a overall very good team performance from everyone - even Doug Mulholland, despite North conceding 12 points in the 12 minutes he was on the pitch.
Next week North return to league action with a home game against Wath Upon Dearne, kick off at 3pm.
Again there was no second team game but there will hopefully be a fixture at home next week against Keighley, also with a 3pm kick off.
I will be at work grafting diligently away next Saturday and on holiday the week after for the Goole game, so my reports will be shorter as I will have to rely on second hand text message information of the games, but they will still be as accurate as usual.