This festive fixture was supported well by Northern who sent an ‘A’ side comprising of 7 Wanderers, 10 Panthers and 8 returning students. Northern started well with an unconverted try on 2 minutes following a clean break by full-back Ali Gray. This was quickly followed by a Wallsend unconverted try on 7 minutes where their pack powered over from close range. Northern scored again when scrum half Tommy Williams charged down a kick and picked up to run clear and touch down on 17 minutes for a try converted by back row Chris Raffo. Northern scored again on 19 minutes when good hands set right wing Eddie Gray in for a try also converted by back row Chris Raffo. On 24 minutes Northern went further ahead when supporting lock Rob Thompson carried on from a great half break and gave a perfect pass to front row and captain, Peter Allsop for a fine try under the posts converted by fly half Spike Strang. The last score of the half went to Northern when wing Thomas Rossington made a fine outside break and sped under the posts for a try that fly half Spike Strang converted to leave the half time score: Northern‘A’33–Wallsend 5.
Half time hospitality from Wallsend was appreciated by the players when mince pies and port were distributed. Northern made 10 changes for the second half, and with 7 changes in the pack it was no surprise that they were slow to start (perhaps too many pies?). Wallsend exploited this with converted trys on 43 minutes and 50 minutes both scored through their forwards. Northern woke up at this point and back row Chris Raffo scored a fine individual unconverted try on 53 minutes soon after returning to the field following an eye watering knock. Try of the match belonged to Northern when on 70 minutes left wing Tony Hedley just kept running and touched down out wide after a lung bursting run that left defenders in his wake. The conversion was missed. Wallsend to their credit bounced back for another score on 73 minutes when their forwards drove over for another converted try. Northern upped their game in the final few minutes with the Strang brothers looking good at 10 and 12 (not enough port) and ran in three more scores. The first was from another fine run from back row Chris Raffo who, with a classy show and go, set supporting fly half Baz Strang in for a try under the posts that he converted himself on 77 minutes. The second was straight from the kick off when the ball was moved to back row Chris Raffo who made another great break on 79 minutes and from the ruck the ball was moved left for full-back Joe Souter to score an unconverted try out wide. The last try was again from the kick off when wing Tommy Williams fielded the ball and stepped past the Wallsend chasers to set centre Spike Strang away for a fine individual try converted by his brother, fly half Baz Strang on time. Final scoreNorthern ‘A’ 62 – Wallsend 26.
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