By JUST H JOHNSON
and 2nds mixed fortunes
Apologies for short-ish reports but on Saturday I was at work fighting fires and saving lives, oh and watching telly, so I had to rely on second hand information and a bit of imagination.
Northallerton first team returned to winning ways and second spot in Yorkshire 2 with with a close fought 15-22 away win at Yarnbury.
As per last week, both sides cancelled each other out for the first twenty minutes with neither team threatening the try line.
On the half hour mark though, North gained the vital first score via some excellent ball handling from Norths backs and forwards. Scrum half Jedd Bainbridge quickly shipped the ball out from the back of a ruck to Australian (LOSERS) Ashley Rio who then released ageing workhorse Simon Manthorpe in space. Manthorpe seemed to turn back the clock on his advancing years to gallop down the middle of the pitch, before performing an excellent one handed off load to supporting Rob Green who scored in the corner.
Just as North seemed to be in the ascendancy, a silly, needless penalty was conceded on their own 22, which the home team fly half gratefully converted.
The remainder of the first half was punctuated with minor errors that neither team could capitalise on.
Half time 3-5 to Northallerton.
Five minutes into the second half another excellent break from flanker Green was halted fifteen yards out by a robust challenge from the Yarmbury defender. From the ensuing scramble to retrieve the ball, North were awarded a penalty which Aussie (losers) Rio dutifully dispatched.
North were now controlling the game with their well coordinated rushed defence and thus allowing the home team very little space or time to work in.
After fifteen minutes, more good forward work resulted in a well taken try from player/coach James Hopkin, converted again by Australian (losers) Rio.
With North twelve points up and well in control, the visiting supporters were expecting a comfortable win forthcoming. However, North suffered a couple of injuries and were forced into making substitutions, including bringing on posh boy Wing Commander Will Deacon and professional substitute Harry Laking. These changes disrupted Norths flow, allowing Yarnbury a foothold back into the game.
After sixty five minutes North switched off and allowed the home team to score a converted try, followed less than three minutes later with another unconverted try to draw level. Now it was the turn of the the home team to be in control and North to defend stoically. With Green leading from the front and both Swall brothers also combining well to keep the home team out, Yarnbury began to look frustrated.
Five minutes from time a clearance up field from Aussie (still losers) Rio was fumbled by the Yarnbury full back. From the ensuing scrum, North provided quick ball to reliable winger Sandy Gray who scored a try similar to last weeks, but ten yards in from the touchline. Australian(bad losers) Rio added the conversion to give North a seven point lead. Despite Yarnbury’s best efforts, from the restart North managed to retain possession and run down the clock for the last five minutes for the victory.
Man of the Match was awarded to Rob Green.
Next week Northallerton first team are at home to local rivals Ripon with a 2.15pm kick off.
Before the game there will be a pre match buffet provided by match sponsors Ripon Farm Services.
Northallerton second team were due to play Wensleydale but the Dale probably, in my humble opinion, were still cheesed off after last season so cancelled a couple of days before.
There then followed a hastily arranged trip away to Yarnbury and it was agreed that North could join in a round robin competition against both Castleford and Yarnbury. Both games being of forty minute durations.
North won the first game against Castleford 19-0, with tries from Peter Skinner and Dougie Mulholland (2). Mulholland also adding two conversions.
The all out effort of the first game however proved too much as Mulholland had used up all his luck so had to pull out citing a convenient injury. North then fell to a disappointing 21-0 defeat to Yarnbury in the next game.
Next week Northallerton seconds are scheduled to be away at a Ripon with a 2.15 kick off.
Next week, Northallerton Ladies also have a chance to showcase their talents with a home game to Ripon Ladies, kick off prior to the first team game is at 12.00 midday.