WETHERBY WHALED again
By JUST H JOHNSON
And Ashley’s 30th
Northallerton first team just about edged out rivals Wetherby by a score of 15-10 at Brompton Lodge.
The visitors started off the stronger and pressed North back into their own 22 for the first ten minutes of the game, before getting their just rewards with a straight forward penalty to take a 0-3 lead.
Wetherby continued to have the upper hand for the next twenty minutes but were unable to convert possession into points. This was due to a combination of last ditch tackling by Matthew Marsay and bad handling by the visitors.
Just after the half hour mark, a speculative kick through by Ashley Rio, on his 30th birthday, was collected by Jedd Bainbridge who shipped the ball out to Jonny Frank, who in turn fed Marsay out wide. Marsay managed to avoid one tackler before arcing round the covering full back to score in the corner. Bainbridge added the conversion from near the touchline in a very strong crosswind.
Just before half time Bainbridge added a penalty to somehow send North in at the break 10-3 up despite Wetherby’s dominance.
At half time North made a couple of changes replacing the tiring (some wish he was re-tiring) Doug Mulholland for fresh faced Jack Radcliffe, and also replacing Paul Dixon with the grisly looking Doug Welsh.
Five minutes into the second half the Wetherby hooker was yellow carded for a deliberate trip on Marsay while chasing a kick through. Wetherby were then forced to bring on their own gigantic Wetherby Whaler as a front row replacement. From the resulting five yard scrum, Iain Swall picked up the ball at the base before off loading for the severely strapped up Ben James to score in the corner. Bainbridge’s conversion this time drifting wide.
Wetherby forwards continued to have the upper hand over the home team but couldn’t break through Norths resilient defending.
Three minutes from time Wetherby were controversially awarded a penalty try after a scrum five yards from Norths line was penalised despite both front rows appearing to stand up twice. Joe Osleton did say something smelled a bit fishy about the decision - his joke not mine!!!
This set up a tense few minutes, which actually ended up being close to ten minutes with an extra seven minutes played due to stoppages.
Wetherby had one more chance to score but knocked the ball on ten yards out, which just about summed up their day!
Norths man of the match was awarded to Matthew Marsay, although there were good performances from Doug Welsh and Alex Bilby which didn’t go unnoticed.
Next week North 1sts travel to play Old Otliensians who are struggling near the foot of the division but North know they’ll be in for a tough game as ‘Otley’ always raise their game for their encounters.
Northallerton sent a severely depleted second team to Acklam that returned on the wrong side of a 45-15 score line. Norths points came via tries for Olly Faller-Raw, Matthew Clarke and ageing veteran Gareth ‘Studley’ Essex.
Next week North hope to have a stronger team available for a fixture to be confirmed, hopefully also away at Otley.