It is said that one swallow does not make a summer but consecutive wins against promotion-seeking opponents can make a winter!
After beating Huddersfield YMCA at home before Christmas Northern produced their best performance of the season at 2nd placed Pocklington on their rather quaint setup, to commence 2014 with a bang.
Aggressive defence, a brilliant kicking display by fly-half Paddy Harper and an almost flawless display of penalty kicking by full-back Donal Collins (plus his try and conversion) were features of this game. In addition praise must be lavished on coach Dave Guthrie, whose judicious use of the replacements and reorganisation of the team when we were reduced to 14 men twice and for a period of 5 minutes down to 13 men, paid off, especially as we recall that Pocklington scored 4 tries in the last 10 minutes of the match at McCracken Park earlier in the season.
Now out of the relegation places our season can be defined in the next three weeks with players hopefully returning from injury and unavailability.
Northern started playing up the slight slope and went into the lead after just one minute with a penalty. Pocklington scored an early try after a line-out catch and drive but a second penalty for Northern took us into the lead. Penalties to both Pocklington and Northern gave us a one point lead at half time. Although the Northern pack had looked slightly vulnerable they dug in and started to take the game to Pocklington.
In the second half, with the elements in their favour, Northern went further ahead with a fourth penalty. For 10 minutes (when we were down to 14/13 men) Pocklington attacked ferociously but as mentioned earlier Northern’s aggressive defence held sway and after two breaks from the back of the scrum by Pat Power and a well judged cross kick by Paddy Harper for Donal Collins to touch down wide out and convert the final score was 19 – 8.
Although Donal scored all of Northern’s points it was Olly Holtam who was awarded man of the match by Pocklington.
Our next game is at home to Old Crossleyans and then we travel to Sheffield. All are welcome to join the bus trip to savour and tell your grandchildren about.
A successful and happy 2014 to all.
PS – stop press – Donal Collins is now the top[ penalty scorer in our league – well done.