13/14 Wanderers. Ponteland II 23 - 25 Wanderers

Due to Durham City conceding their Candy league game the Wanderers picked up this fixture from the pool. Northern had two late cry offs in the backs so thanks go to Baz Strang and Henry Kilpatrick for stepping in at short notice and making their debuts in the backs for the team. Northern could only field 15 players for this fixture and with full back Joss Pinsent filling in at emergency scrum half the team started well playing into the wind and sun from the kick off. Northern were moving a lot of ball off first phase and were struggling to break down the well organised Ponteland defence however following a good break by right wing James Pattison Northern forced Ponteland to concede a line out in their 22. Northern managed to win the ball and fast hands put centre Baz Strang through a gap to score a good try on 15 minutes which he converted to give Northern a deserved lead. Northern went to sleep after this and sloppy play allowed Ponteland to get field position in the Northern 22. The Ponteland forwards worked well as a unit and the Ponteland scrum half shot through from short range for a converted tryon 19 minutes to tie the game. Northern tightened up their game after this and created some good half chances but promising moves broke down with a series of unforced errors and poor ball retention. Northern finally put together a good phase on 30 minutes when centre Rory Gibson took the ball on and gave a defence fixing pass to supporting full back Connor Chamberlain who in turn set right wing James Pattison away for a fine unconverted try out wide. This was the last score of the half. Half time Ponteland 7 – Northern Wanderers 12.

Despite a half time team talk on tightening up defensively Northern went into the second half with lack of focus and following a poor kick chase Ponteland ran the ball back through several missed tackles and scored a try out wide on 45 minutes. Northern again turned ball over on 50 minutes with the same result an unconverted Ponteland try out wide. Northern continued to try to play in the wrong area of the pitch and were punished again when Ponteland forced a line out 5m from the Northern line. Northern countered the initial catch and drive but stood off as Ponteland put a good counter drive and scored another unconverted try out wide on 53 minutes. Northern woke up at this point and began to play like the team that has been so successful in the latter part of the season. They sorted out their defensive line and following good pressure on the Ponteland inside backs centre Baz Strang was able to intercept a loose pass and outpaced the Ponteland defence to race in from 60 metres for a try under the posts which he converted himself on 58 minutes to put Northern within three points of Ponteland. This rocked Ponteland and Northern were at last taking the game to their opposition with locks Lee Longstaff and Paddy Douglas prominent in the forwards gaining good yards with some impressive carries. Northern continued to press as the clock ticked down and built good phases of play to keep Ponteland pinned down in their own half. Northern seemed to have made the break through with three minutes left to play when the ball was won and moved wide to right wing James Pattinson who has a clear run to the line however 

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