1st XV had an excellent win 27 - 24 against Rochdale. An outstanding, exciting game of rugby. Match report thanks to Walter Ritchie.
What a pulsating finish the spectators witnessed at Northern when, well into injury time, James Crowther scored the winning try converted by Donal Collins to beat the high flying Rochdale 27-24.The added bonus point for scoring 4 tries is very welcome especially with our fellow relegation candidates also winning. The relegation battle now looks to continue until the last game of the season when we are away to Alnwick! Northern opened on the attack and went ahead with an unconverted try by Owen Clemett after a spectacular kicking and passing movement. Although Rochdale kicked a penalty Northern replied with one of their own from Shane Wright. With both sides willing to play an open game Rochdale kicked 2 further penalties. At this stage Rochdale backs handled with confidence and it was no surprise when they went further ahead with an unconverted try to lead 14-8 at half time.
Play in the second half, at times, was quite frenetic with handling errors aplenty but a dramatic burst by Alex Clarkput in Paddy Harper for a try which was converted by Shane Wright. From the kick off Northern lost concentration and lost the ball allowing Rochdale to score. Now behind again Northern responded as if their lives depended on it. After another excellent run by Alex Clark the ball was recycled several times before Paddy Fisher crashed over in the corner. Inexplicably with time almost up Northern somehow failed to control a ball going into touch and Rochdale scored a very soft try to regain the lead. Somehow Northern regained the ball from the kick off and pressed and pressed for a winning score. Unfortunately the ball was dropped and Rochdale broke clear and even a losing bonus looked in jeopardy. However Rochdale knocked on and their scrum half was yellow carded. Northern, with nothing to lose, ran the ball. Rochdale again transgressed, a penalty kick to the corner resulted and Northern, not panicking, controlled the ball until the winning try was scored by James Crowther. All spectators including those from Rochdale applauded the teams off after witnessing a truly great game of rugby. Unfortunately skipper Phil Ludford was concussed during the final assault and I am happy to report that he is ok but will miss the rest of the season.
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