and no card for once!
Northallerton 1st team hosted high flying visitors Aireborough at Brompton Lodge and put in a courageous display before falling to a 10-15 defeat.
Both teams seemed evenly matched for the first ten minutes before the visitors executed a smart midfield move with the fly half eventually throwing a wide pass for the Boro winger to race away and score under the posts. Again the game slipped into a period of stalemate for ten minutes and North made the decision to 'freshen' the team up using two of the rolling substitutes in the backs. Before North could gather and regroup though, the visitors again reproduced a similar move as for the first try to go over for another try. With North 12 points down and the visitors looking comfortable, it seemed a ominous outlook for North. With club Captain Don Stone orchestrating proceedings from the sideline due to injury, is was left to vice captain Richard Lonsdale to get the team fired up and back into the game. He led by example making some huge tackles and disrupting numerous Boro attacks. I have been told not to mention the one off incident of a tiny Aireborough bloke ripping the ball off him, like taking candy from a baby!
North forwards upped their game and began to retain the ball more, which led to a try five minutes before half time. North were awarded a penalty try when Boro, having to contest a scrum on their 5 yard line, were penalised three times on the trot by the referee for numerous infringements. Luck easily scored the conversion. Just as North got back into the game, they gave away a stupid penalty on the stroke of half time to send the teams in at the break 7-15 to Aireborough.
The second half was a scrappy affair with some wayward kicking and sloppy passing from North inviting danger from the Boro attack. To North's credit though, they showed tremendous tenacity in one of the best defensive displays seen this season. In fact, North nearly got a break away try when Lonsdale stole the ball off his opposite number to run up field for over 50 yards before his legs eventually gave way and he was caught by the Boro full back. North's case wasn't helped by an injury to hooker Jonny Baker, and with no natural hooker replacement, Nic Bainbridge stepped up give the position a go for his third different position in three weeks. Although Bainbridges' hooking technique was different it was effective and kept North in the game. His throwing at lineout's however was as capricious as expected and Liam Lincoln had to take over. North did manage to score a penalty five minutes from time to gain a losing bonus point for being within 7 points at the end of the game.
Next week North play Baildon away looking for only their second away win of the season.