VETERAN DIXON HAT-TRICK
Northallerton first team continued their winning start to the season with a 26-18 home victory over visitors Sheffield Medicals.
North welcomed back lock Iain Swall to the squad after another injury but were missing influential scrum half Jamie Douglas and flanker Jeremy Deas.
For the first ten minutes the visitors looked very dangerous as their younger backs received a lot of ball and created a couple of chances before eventually touching down for a converted try.
North then set the scene for the rest of the days play, keeping the ball tight and getting their forwards involved as much as possible. After fifteen minutes North's forward dominance paid off with a try for Paul Dixon following good work by Ed Meeks and Phil Swall, Jedd Bainbridge added the conversion to level the scores.
Soon after North again scored through their forwards when Jacob Sankey crashed through three tacklers to touchdown out wide for an unconverted try. The visitors were unable to breach the North defence, however an offside offence gave Medics a chance with long range penalty which they duly took to bring the score back to 12-10.
Just before half time North emphasised their forward dominance with a second try for Dixon after a fifteen yard rolling maul. Bainbridge adding the conversion to send North in at the interval 19-10
At half time North brought on Lee Peake for the injured Harry Laking, however two minutes after his introduction Peake, received his customary harsh yellow card to put North down to 14 men. Medics added another three points from the resulting penalty. Soon after Matthew Marsay produced a remarkable last ditch try saving tackle on the Medics full back, who was inches off the try line as Marsay tackled him and took the ball before clearing his lines.
North were then forced to introduce Iain Swall earlier than planned to shore up the defence and control the lineouts.
Despite being down to 14 men North still looked well in control and capped off a fine display with a third try for 55 year old prop Dixon - his first ever hat trick for Northallerton! Bainbridge again with the conversion.
Five minutes from time North switched off and allowed Medics a two man overlap out wide and score in the corner.
Man of the match was awarded to Matthew Marsay again, for the second time in three appearances.
Next week North are at home to Harrogate Pythons with a 3pm kick off.
Northallerton second team travelled to play Sedgefield Saxons for an early midday kick off and returned with a hard earned 17-22 victory.
North were let down before kick off when vice captain Ian Cockings cried off to go Christmas shopping with his wife!!!!
It looked at the beginning that North were going to struggle, especially when Paul James received a yellow card for his stomach being offside 3 times in 5 minutes. But North composed themselves, got their game plan of territorial kicking into operation and ground out the win.
North dominated a lot of the play but tired in the last fifteen minutes to allow the home team to come back from 5-22 down to cause a nervous last five minutes.
North's tries came from Paul James(2), Doug Mullholland and Giles Drew. Brian Tucker added one conversion.
North also gave a debut to South African Admire Munenga who looks to have the potential to progress expediently.
Man of the match was awarded to Mark Popejoy.
Next week Northallerton seconds are at home to Stocktonians and revert to a 3pm kick off.
I will be away for the next three weeks and will try to get the team manager, Oliver Watts to sort the match reports unless there is another volunteer.
Thank you H Johnson.