ONWARD + UPWARD
Hope nobody is too upset this time?
Northallerton first team returned to league action after their recent successful trip to Eindhoven, with a 43-11 home win over Knottingley.
North had to delve deep into their squad system due to an increasing injury list that has up to eight regular first team players that are either injured or unavailable.
The list of absentees was -
JP Coyne - modelling
J Deas - packing Aldi bags
S Gray - starting a fight somewhere
J Douglas - neck injury
P Willis - holiday
E Meeks - drinking wine
H Laking - finger surgery
Hoppy - fighting fires
Plus three more partially injured but subbing -
J Osleton - food poisoning
P Swall - post tour hangover.
J Bainbridge - earache.
Knottingley also had a few missing from their usual squad, most notably ‘Psycho’ who was last seen going into McDonald’s at Leeming Bar and asking for a pizza?!?!?!?!?!?
Of the visiting supporters who made the journey, quite a few could be heard commenting what a lovely and enchanting metropolis of a city Brompton was, and we thank them for their kind and comforting words.
North still had enough in reserve though to totally out muscle and out work the opposition for most of the game, despite the visitors sometimes pugnacious and obstropolous attitude. To which Lee Peake probably contributed to!
The visitors enjoyed one of their best spells straight from the kick off when Norths butter fingered winger dropped the ball and put themselves under immediate pressure. North however, kept their cool and defended well before eventually clearing their lines thanks to the accurate boot (better than his hands) of Doug Mulholland.
After ten minutes North had their first lineout of the game twelve metres out. Knottingley could not handle the pressure of Norths catch and drive technique which then enabled Rob Green with his girly ‘man bun’ to touch down for the first try, Sam Taylor adding the conversion.
Soon after the visitors converted two long range penalties, due mostly to Norths over eagerness, which narrowed the score to one point.
North came right back at Knottingley and nearly scored another try from a catch and drive but were held up over the line. From the resulting five yard scrum North did finally go over the line with another try for Green and again converted by Taylor.
On the half hour mark North had another lineout over twenty metres from the try line. This time Knottingley decided not to compete at the lineout, hoping North would be penalised for ‘truck and trailer’. Iain Swall however, seeing there was no competition, broke through and raced upfield to touch down while chuckling away to himself, Taylor again added a difficult conversion.
Just before half time, and after exerting immense pressure, North scored a pushover try with Swall again touching down and Taylor converting.
Half time 28-6
Norths forwards continued to dominate in the second half, with youngster Olly Faller-Raw having an exceptional game in the front row alongside 50 year old Joe Hargreaves. The forward domination allowed North to extend their lead five minutes into the second half with another pushover try for Swall but Taylor missed his first kick of the day. A few minutes later North got their first try via their backs, the trio of Benjamin James, Taylor and Matthew Marsay combining well before Taylor touched down for the try, Taylor however again narrowly missed the conversion.
Just as everyone were expecting Knottingleys heads to drop and for them to totally capitulate, they began to galavinise themselves and exert pressure in the North twenty two for the first time since the opening melee. After nearly ten minutes of sustained attack, their effort was rewarded with a well finished try out wide. Unluckily for the fly half, his conversion hit the upright.
For the remaining fifteen minutes of the game though, the visitors could not get out of their own twenty two as, to their credit, they kept choosing to run the ball instead of the easy option of kicking to clear.
With the last play of the game replacement prop Joe Grieff scored a simple unconverted try in the corner after good work from Jonny Frank.
Final score 43-11
Man of the match was awarded to Iain Swall.
Next week Northallerton first team can secure promotion IF they can beat local rivals away at Wensleydale, kick off at 3pm. North could do with as many supporters as possible making the short journey to cheer the team on.
Northallerton second team fell to their third consecutive defeat but were very unfortunate against a Middlesbrough squad of over thirty players. The game was nip and tuck with only three points separating the teams until the last five minutes when Boro scored a late try to seal the win by a score of 25-17. Norths tries came from Paul Dennison, Lewis Hogg and Iain Dunn, Paul James with one conversion.
Next week Northallerton seconds are scheduled to play Newtonians at home with a 3pm kick off.