Sat 9 Dec 2017
1st XV lost 31 – 34 away to Huddersfield YMCA. Match report thanks to Walter Ritchie:
Well you can't say life is dull watching Northern play rugby these days! 9 tries end to end play and a thrilling last attempt by Northern to snatch victory with a catch and drive from 5 metres.
The conditions at Huddersfield were surprising good in spite of the weather. The pitch had been covered to allow a game in the Anglo-Welsh cup to be played before our game which, with our agreement, was played under lights with a 3.20pm kick off.
The home team started strongly and were soon ahead with a converted try only for Northern to be denied a try by Laurie Troke from a 5 metre line out by an unsighted referee. Northern stayed on the attack and Harrison Clark scored out wide. From the kick off Northern fumbled then were penalised and a penalty was kicked by YMCA. Northern almost scored from a 5 yard line out following sustained pressure only for YMCA to break out and score a converted try. With half time approaching Alex Clark scored a try which Donal Collins improved to leave Northern trailing 17 -12.
The second half started well for the visitors and Ben Smallwood levelled the scores with a fine try after slick handling stretched the home defence. Again Northern failed to secure the re-start ball and YMCA went ahead with another penalty. Northern had to defend well because the home team continually played keep ball and hardly ever kicked! From a rare visit to the opposing 22 Northern scored another classy try by Harrison Clark to secure the bonus point and, with Collins improving, take the lead. Northern's troubles now started with Laurie Troke having to be replaced by Ryan Moore after his knee gave way. Then Ben Smallwood was injured and had to be replaced after the next scrum after valiant defence by Northern. Patrick Douglas gamely moved to prop for the next scrum on our 5 meter line on 62 mins and a harsh penalty try was awarded after the first offence to YMCA when our front row buckled and Ryan Moore’s ankle gave way. Ryan gamely carried on after his ankle was heavily strapped. Northern took the game back to YMCA and Alex Clark ran a great line and scored his second try which Donal Collins converted to take Northern back into the lead with 8 minutes remaining. With 6 minutes remaining YMCA were awarded a scrum on half way which Northern elected to go uncontested, having injuries to all but one front row. Sadly, this meant that we had to be reduced to 14 players for the remainder of the match and despite some sterling defence, YMCA scored a converted try after a series of excellent passing to lead by 3 points. Undaunted Northern once again mounted an attack and elected to kick a penalty to touch to try to win the game rather than going for the draw. With Laurence Annis once again winning the 5 metre line out on the last play, Northern pressed but just couldn’t get over the line and were denied at the death when penalised for holding on. 2 points earned when it could so easily have been 5!
Next Saturday we host Percy Park hoping to gain revenge for the heavy defeat we received early in the season. With the past players luncheon also on in the afternoon we will not lack for support this week.