Northern reached the halfway point of the season sadly in the relegation battle. Wheatley Hills is a typical Yorkshire team with a seasoned and bulky pack backed up by speedy backs. Even the Wheatley forward replacements who came on at half time were of the same ilk!
The game started badly for Northern when after a scrum on the Northern 5-metre line Wheatley shunted the Northern pack backwards to score a pushover try. However a penalty from Donal Collins soon reduced the deficit only for Wheatley to move further ahead with a penalty of their own. Northern then pressed and a Wheatley back row was yellow carded for some “vigorous play” and Donal reduced the deficit with a well taken drop-goal.
Northern started the second half strongly and were rewarded with a well-worked try. This came after considerable Northern pressure which allowed Donal to put in an accurate cross kick for Dom Fawcett to gather and score wide out.
The score was now 11 – 11 and Wheatley turned up the heat with their rugby league professional full back running at Northern from deep and causing all sorts of problems. In the blink of an eye gaps appeared in the Northern defence and Wheatley were out of sight having scored 5 further tries, 4 of which were converted.
Even when one considers that Wheatley were twice reduced to 14 men for 10 minute spells Northern was unable to capitalise.
Disappointing – yes, but the Northern spirit does remain upbeat and with various players coming back from injury early in 2014 all is not lost