16/17 1st XV. Consett 19 - 41 1st XV.

1st XV won 41 – 19 away to Consett. Match report thanks to Walter Ritchie:

Northern completed their 2016/7 season undefeated in 2017 with their 11th consecutive win and so comprehensively consolidated their promotion to North One East.

Conditions at Consett were fine if a little blustery and although the ground was hard in places Northern once again entertained, scoring 7 tries to 1 by Consett. It was Consett’s “Sponsors Day” so a larger than normal crowd witnessed the Northern backs at their best although the referee did have a problem with Northern's pace at times!! The pack stood up well to the considerable weight of the Consett 8 and second rows of Patrick Douglas and Laurence Annis did not give an inch and were ably supported by no 8 (2 tries) Chalky White.

Penalties given away did cause Northern problems and to some extent kept Consett in the game (with ex Northern full back Dougie Patterson in fine kicking form) but class will out and it seemed every time Northern had the ball they scored.

Scoring: Alex Clark (an outstanding skipper) try 5 mins,  Owen Clemett (18), Jack Tait (24), Chalky White (39),  Ali Gray converting 2 and with Consett kicking 4 penalties the half time score was 24 -12 to Northern.

Consett began the second half exerting tremendous pressure but as has happened recently Northern defence is greatly improved and once again the tries flowed. Chalky White (54), and 2 from Harrison Clark (62 and72 mins) with the ever reliable Donal Collins converting. Consett never gave up and in the last play crossed the white wash

We have scored over a thousand points during the season, including 164 tries, with Harrison Clark scoring 25 and Chalky White 18 and they actually scored our last 4 tries of the season!! Joe Young was second highest try scorer for the season with 21.

It has been an absolute pleasure to watch the team this season and write match reports and I personally look forward to the no doubt stiffer challenges next season and of course the bus trips.

Enjoy the summer.

16/17 1st XV. 1st XV 71 - 21 Hartlepool.

1st XV won 71 – 21 at home to Hartlepool. Match report thanks to Walter Ritchie:

Well they think it's all over - well it is now!! A very comfortable bonus point win and results elsewhere confirmed the club's aim to return to the North One East league, after we were unlucky to have been relegated last season, was achieved.

Conditions were ideal for us to maximise the Northern way of playing, spinning the ball wide at every opportunity and, as there is no answer to pace, which we have that in spades, diamonds, clubs and hearts, we scored 11 trys. In addition we have two new kickers stepping up to the plate in Ali Gray and Alex Clark who between them kicked 8 conversions.

Hartlepool, hoping to escape relegation, fought hard and scored 3 tries of their own to entertain the spectators aided by a referee who allowed the game to flow. Northern's pack produced excellent ball from line out and scrum and used their speed and fitness to support the backs.

The tries scorers were Phil Kay (3mins), Ali Gray (7), Alex Clark (12), Jack Tait (30), Joe Young (32) - half time 32 -7. Then Dan Matthews (45), Phil Kay (56), Harrison Clark (58), Laurence Annis (66), Alex Clark (62), and finally Dan Matthews (69). Ali Gray converted 4 and Alex Clark 4.

An outstanding all round performance and we travel to Consett on the 22nd of the month intending to continue our unbeaten record in 2017 and end the season on top of Everest!

We are travelling by bus so book your seats early! Rumours that Gregg’s latest sausage rolls will be available on the bus could be a further reason to support the team. The league trophy will also be presented at Consett - a first for the club!

16/17 1st XV. Gosforth 15 - 43 1st XV.

1st XV won 43 – 15 away to Gosforth. Match report thanks to Walter Ritchie:

This was a game of two halves, partly due to the sloping, heavy pitch and partly due to Gosforth upping their game in the second half.

After the briefest of spells in the Northern 22 Gosforth opened the scoring with a penalty. The remainder of the first half was totally dominated by Northern and they scored 6 tries through Andrew Connor (12 mins), Harrison Clark (16) Robert Harnby (20), Alex Clark (24 and 27) and Chris Malley (37) with Ali Gray converting 5.  Half time score 40 - 3 to Northern.  Each Northern try was down to excellent handling, twice with the ball flying through 6 pairs of hands!! Match won, bonus point in the bag, relax!

The half time talk by the Gosforth coach must have been inspiring because from the word go Gosforth's pack took charge and suddenly Northern were on the back foot and the crossing of the gain line became a thing of the past. Fortunately Northern's defence, which had been tested by Gateshead the previous week, was again up to the task and Gosforth were contained on the half way line and only allowed to score 2 break-away tries. Twice Northern lifted the siege and were unlucky not to have scored 2 further tries of their own when our speedsters, Joe Young and Dan Matthews, were slowed down by the pitch and stopped with last ditch tackles. Northern had to settle for a penalty on the last play by Ali Gray whose goal kicking improves with each game.

Next week we are at home to Hartlepool who are fighting to avoid relegation so we will have to be at our best to secure the win we need to push for promotion.

16/17 1st XV. 1st XV 67 - 18 Gateshead.

1st XV won 67 – 18 at home to Gateshead. Match report thanks to Walter Ritchie:

In perfect conditions the tries flowed and Gateshead, who came to play, contributed to the entertainment on a hot and sunny afternoon. The victory maintains Northern's bid to return to North One East at the first attempt.

In the first half Northern gave away too many penalties which resulted in Gateshead having more possession but their inability to finish of attacks, due in no small part to Northern’s excellent defence, was the difference between the sides. Gateshead did open the scoring with an early penalty but Northern came straight back with a fine individual try by Harrison Clark, who brushed off three tackles on a direct line to the posts from the half way line giving Ali Gray a simple conversion. Joe Young scored next to equal Harrison’s 20 trys for the season then Gateshead dropped a cheeky goal before no. 8 Chalky White powered in for a try bouncing the cover defender into next week in the process. Chalky White then scored his second try converted by Ali Gray and the half was rounded off by a fine support try by openside Robbie Harnby.  

Leading 29 -6 at half time with the try scoring bonus in the bag Northern did relax and allowed Gateshead to score a converted try straight after the break. Northern then took control with their pace and fitness telling as Gateshead tired in the heat. Harrison Clark scored his second try converted by Ali Gray followed in quick succession by an unconverted try by Chris Malley, a try by Ali Gray which he converted himself and a try by Alex Clark converted by Ali Gray. Gateshead did manage a consolation try with 10 minutes to play but Northern finished strongly and scored the final try when replacement hooker Ross Colesky touched down right on time. Northern, both in the tight and line outs, were dominant and their all-round pace in the side resulted in 11 tries being scored.

Next Saturday sees us travel up Broadway West to tackle our oldest rivals who you can be certain will do all they possibly can to upset the drive for promotion so please come on foot or on your bike we look forward to seeing you at Gosforth for a 3pm ko. 


16/17 1st XV. Barnard Castle 0 - 28 1st XV.

1st XV won 28 – 0 away to Barnard Castle. Match report thanks to Walter Ritchie:

Well it does not get much better than this with a very well deserved 5 point win against the top-of-the-table team Barnard Castle. All 18 players and coaches are be congratulated on, in my opinion, the very best all round performance of the season.

Right from the start Northern were up for it and, in contrast to the game at home when Barnard Castle scored 4 tries in the opening 30 minutes, they dominated all facets of the game and forced Barnie to give away penalties. Ali Gray kicked 2 penalties for Northern before Harrison Clark pounced on a loose ball to score an unconverted try. Concerted pressure then allowed Chalky White to force his way over, and again Ali Gray improved. Barnard Castle spent 7 or 8 minutes in the Northern 25 attempting to force their way over before skipper Alex Clark, in great form, made a 50 yard break which almost resulted in another try. The line outs were dominated by Laurence Annis, Tom Harrison and Robert Harnby and Barnie were having to live off crumbs - Northern were deservedly 18-0 in the lead at half time.

Now with the slope in their favour Northern continued to be in control and although Barnie looked dangerous at times the Northern defence was watertight. Sensible use of the subs by coach Dave Guthrie kept up the pressure and Harrison Clark took full advantage of another Barnie mistake to score his second try and increase Northern’s lead to 23-0.  In the last minute of the game Alex Clark pounced and a determined run saw him score a try in the corner and so claim the bonus point which at the end of the season could be so critical.

Naturally, back in their club-house, Barnie were very disappointed and to add to their bad day at the office the club electrics failed - the beer pumps were out of action as were their televisions.  Barnard Castle Cricket Club proved an alternative venue and the Black Horse pub also welcomed extra business from the players and supporters, one of whom arrived at the game just in time to seeing Alex Clark scoring the final try! This unnamed Irishman (a former president of Northern) however entertained the locals with his charm and wit and witnessed the demolition of Scotland and with every English try wondered if he should really go to Ireland next weekend. Naturally l was to blame for not letting him know today’s revised kick-off time.

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