14/15 1st XV. Wheatley Hills 42 - 21 1st XV

With property it is “location, location, location” but with rugby it is “physicality, physicality and more physicality” which is an area we unfortunately currently lack. Our backline consisted of three under-19 players and whilst they played very creditably in attack they were at times overwhelmed by the “big” lads of Wheatley Hills.

Although Northern nearly scored in the first minute Wheatley produced some fine driving and offloading play to score 4 converted tries in the first 15 minutes. Slowly but surely Northern steadied the boat and, assisted by Wheatley Hills being down to 14 players for 30 minutes, reduced the deficit at half time to 28 – 14 with tries by Joe Young and Sam Thorne both converted by Donal Collins.

Having not scored for 50 minutes after their initial burst Wheatley Hills got their act together and two outstanding breaks by their fly half, a rugby league convert, stretched their lead to 28 points. At half backs both Sam Thorne and Paddy Harper played well, ably supported in particular by Ed Cawthorn (Northern’s man of the match) and Phil Ludford.

At the death Northern were rewarded with a final try from Joe Young, converted by Paddy Harper.

Wheatley Hills has never been a happy hunting ground for Northern and as I commented at the beginning of this report physicality on and off the bench proved the crucial difference between the two sides.

Next Saturday we play against Bradford & Bingley at home. B & B have just joined our league after relegation and will provide stiff opposition – they can look forward to a warm welcome both on and off the field.

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