1st XV - Gateshead
1st XV - won against Gateshead 26 - 5.
1st XV - won against Gateshead 26 - 5. This could not be described as a great spectator game but tries from Simon March, Alan Douglas, Alex Clark and Mattie Brown earned Northern a bonus point. Two tries were converted by Kris Borthwick.
MISSED CHANCES PROVE COSTLY.
By Paddy Douglas |
A poor finish to a good start!
Only one change to the selected side with Mark Livesey not available so a little switch round with Cameron Wilczek coming in on the wing.
A fine but cold day saw one of the end of term league game take place at Northern. The Aliks had been fed and watered and were ready for an entertaining game. Northern were mid table and Gateshead already relegated so it was basically a game of rugby with a bit of local pride at stake.
Gateshead started off well and put pressure on Northern. What appeared to be a good chance when after a series of attacks a line out near their lien was lost. Sound familiar? Never mind after keeping Northern out another attack resulted in Gavin McMurtry nipping through a gap to score but he missed the conversion. 5-0.
Northern took the game to Gateshead and should have scored but good defence kept them out, After 16 minutes an outrageous dummy by their scrum half just inside the Gateshead half saw him race away to score. 5-5.
A few minutes later Ian Carr was sin binned. There had been no regular offending from either side, no repeated offences and Northern were not in the famous ‘red zone’. Ian believed that he was on his feet but the ref said he was on the ground when he was ripping the ball. So it was a penalty. Why a yellow card? It was not what they were intended for and completely unnecessary and only serves to spoil the game. Northern committed three equally heinous offences within a few minutes but no yellow cards. Consistency?
Sure enough with a man short Northern scored again to make it 5-10. Warren Wilczek hurt his wrist and Jock Collins came on for a few minutes whilst he was sorted out and even managed a little trundle with the ball whilst he was on.
Northern finished the half with a penalty to see them lead 13-5 at half time.
They started off on the attack and Johnny Thandi tackled one of their forwards. They were both upright and both went down. High tackle said the ref and a penalty kicked to make it 5-16. No way was it a high tackle. He did the same again a few minutes later when Jon Aslet(6ft 5in) tackled one of their guys(5ft 6in). He basically grabbed him and fell on top of him.
Gateshead appeared to score a trundle try with four Gateshead players on the bottom with the ball, there seemed to be no arguement. Not so said the ref scrum down. A Gateshead player made a comment and Northern got a penalty!
One of the Northern guys was sin binned for some innocuous offence. Gateshead missed two very kickable penalties and had what was a cracking move where Scott Cartner took the ball from full back on the hoof. He was clean through the gap but couldn’t hold on to the ball. He would have been in between the posts so within the space of a few minutes there were 12 points wasted. Johnny Foster came on for his return after a long term injury and that was great to see.
Scott Cartner got a ball and counter attacked, he chipped the ball ahead and went up for it with their guy, who got to it first. Scott instinctively grabbed him whilst he was in the air and they both went down. Definitely a penalty but the ref yellow carded Scott. Just about summed it all up!
Whilst Gateshead were one down Northern scored another two tries to make the final score 26-5 to them. Northern deserved to win but Gateshead didn’t deserve to lose by that margin. Northern took their chances whilst Gateshead did not. The ref did not help towards an entertaining game of rugby. Before the refereeing community start jumping up and down about me criticising a ref, when a ref makes a statement like he did before the game that he was not taking any chances and was going to blow for everything then there is not much chance for two teams going out to enjoy a good game between them.
He basically went through the law card and blew his whistle, so he kept his promise but spoiled it for everyone else. One ref once told me that refs weren’t there to make it a good game of rugby and that just about sums it all up. Gateshead did not lose because of the ref but a little empathy for the game would help the game for both sides.
Away day at Sheffield next week so get the boxes of wine out for the long journey home (only for the Aliks of course!).