1st XV lost 37 - 23 away to South Shields Westoe. Match report thanks to Walter Ritchie:
The proceedings at Westoe on Saturday began with an attempt to create a little of the Rugby World Cup and Twickenham at South Shields with a performance of Jerusalem. A chair was placed in front of the stand, the referee and teams lined up, an attractive young lady appropriately dressed in a lovely royal blue evening gown was helped onto the chair and the tannoy belted out the wrong introduction. This was quickly corrected and off we went. Sadly the singer forgot to put on her mike and could not be heard above the crowd! The idea was to be applauded but the execution left a little to be desired.
A much changed Northern team with four 1st team debutants was soon in the lead (the first time in any league game this season) with a penalty by hooker Ryan Moore (who in total kicked 11 points all executed perfectly). The game see-sawed but the heavier Westoe pack began to assert their superiority allowing Westoe to score a drop goal and an unconverted try. However just before half-time new centre Hershall Ward intercepted a Westoe move and put James Crowther away under the posts to score Northern’s first try of the season putting Northern ahead 16-8 at half time.
Unfortunately within minutes of the resumption, with Westoe now playing with both the slope and slight wind advantage, both Ryan Moore and line out expert Phil Ludford were injured. Westoe capitalised and soon reduced the lead with a penalty try when Northern were penalised for interfering in a forward drive and Alex Clark then spent 10 mins in the bin! With very little possession Northern were on the back foot and Westoe put the result to bed with three further converted tries and a penalty to lead 37-16. Northern however did not give in and were awarded a penalty try of their own which Ben Crossley improved. The Westoe faithful thankfully refrained from giving us their version of Swing Low Sweet Chariot.!!!
Next Saturday sees us travel to league leaders West Hartlepool in their spanking new facility and all support will be most welcome. Let's hope the Northern FC rendition of Swing Low Sweet Chariot reverberates around the Northern changing room on Saturday night!
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