Northallerton 1st team played their final home game of the season against Bramley Phoenix at Brompton Lodge and produced, their best display of the long, arduous season to run out 45-8 winners.
North started the more dominant despite Bramley having the larger pack, and took the lead through two brilliantly executed Dan Luck
penalties in a strong cross wind in the first 15 minutes. Liam Lincoln
was proving the decision to start him at 8 was the correct one, as he was all over the park, making crucial tackles and stealing valuable ball. North were then forced to make an early change with prop Nic Bainbridge suffering a calf strain and being replaced by Graham Johnson
, who seems to be having a rejuvenation of form after a couple of years away from the game. The change made little difference as North more than held their own in the scrums and were looking dangerous in the backs. And it was the ever dangerous and speedy Rhys Kilbride who scored the first try out of nothing. After collecting a speculative kick in his own half, he proceeded on a long, jinking, mazy run through most of the Bramley team before touching down under the posts, Luck with the conversion. Ten minutes later Ed Bulman also produced a similar weaving run, but from much closer to score another try, this time though the conversion drifted wide. Soon after that, Lincoln who continues to improve with every game, found himself in acres of space out wide with the ball in his hands. But with over 70 yards to run, was soon caught as his legs began to give way. On the stroke of half time Bramley were awarded a penalty for offside which sent the teams in at 18-3 to North.
Within minutes of the restart, a calamitous error from the Bramley full back, who called 'mark' in his own 22 before dropping the ball, gifted another try to Bulman, again Luck with the conversion. North added to the scores with a casual drop goal from Brain Tucker and another penalty from Luck. North then suffered a slight set back when Richard 'The' Onesdale was carded for a minor infringement (again). This forced North to make a couple of changes to freshen things up. On came Martin Dennison
to try and help North at lineout's where Bramley were edging events, and also impact players Gareth Essex and Dave Barrett were brought on in midfield for the tiring Bulman and injured Baz Rolfe. Essex made an immediate impact with a superb tackle and steal of the ball to create a try for Barrett. Ten minutes before time Barrett got his second try, this time with the assist of Luck, now playing at scrum half. Luck completed a outstanding day for himself with both conversions. North did however have a slight lapse in the final minutes, being by being slow to react to a quick tap penalty, allowing Bramley over for a unconverted try. Final score 45-8.
Next week North conclude the season with a bus trip to their final league game of the season at Halifax Vandals, safe from relegation but still wanting to finish the season on a high.