13/14 Wanderers. Wanderers 17 - 22 Corbridge Centurians

Northern fielded a strong XV for this fixture but were left with one fit replacement due to a late call up to the 1st XV, a cry off and a pre match injury. With guest fly half Joe Wilson giving direction to the team and a strong effort from the pack Northern stretched Corbridge and tested their defence from the off. A surging run from half way by right wing Andrew ‘Tommo’ Thompson after 10 minutes sliced through the Corbridge defence was unlucky not to be rewarded with a try when a last gasp tackle just forced him into touch a couple of meters short of the line.
Northern pressed Corbridge back from the resulting line out an pinned them back in their own half until on 25 minutes after great pressure by Northern turned over the ball and quick hands found centre Neil Carter who ran a great line to power over for the first try of the game. Fly half Joe Wilson converted to give Northern a deserved lead. This jolted Corbridge into life and they pressed hard from the kick off and Northern’s defence was tested. Corbridge got a lucky breakthrough out wide on 32 minutes when Northern’s wide defenders were sucked in and the ball broke to their wing who just made the try line for an unconverted try in the corner. Northern bounced back and after Corbridge infringed on the 10m line fly half Joe Wilson kicked a penalty to increase Northern’s lead. Half time score: Northern 10 - Corbridge 5.
Northern turned around second half with an enforced change in the front row when debutant prop Matt Hearst retired injured and hooker Ian Rice moved to prop. Northern continued to dominate the set pieces and their defence was good so there was a lot of possession for the home side. Corbridge did make on foray into Northern’s half on 47 minutes and were awarded a penalty but their kicker pulled his attempt wide. Full back Sam McGregor then went on a great run out of defence and stepped inside moving the ball on to looping fly half Joe Wilson. The fly half made a powerful run brushing off a couple of defenders on the way to score an excellent try out wide on 49 minutes. The fly half then converted his own try with a super touchline kick. Northern then had several opportunities to add further scores through powerful forward drives and a superb break by centre Jos Pinsent but lack of clinical finishing cost them when on 60 minutes Corbridge pressed Northern back to their own 22 and their fly half spotted that there was no full back home and exploited the space with a deft chip kick which the chasing Corbridge player picked up unopposed to score under the posts. The conversion was duly made and Corbridge found themselves unexpectedly back in the game. Northern continued to press and created further scoring chances but a combination of last gasp defending and unforced errors negated these efforts. On 68 minutes Northern were pressing hard and the ball was moved quickly to fly half Joe Wilson who almost made the line in a repeat of his earlier try. Unfortunately, the fly half turned his ankle badly and was forced to leave the field with 12 minutes left on the clock. Northern had no fit replacements at this point to after a reshuffle the injured Eddie Gray came on in the centre. The Northern pack pressed hard from a 5 m scrum in the Corbridge 22 and playing the ball tight in the forwards were unlucky to be held up short of the line on two occasions and on the third attempt when the ball looked to be close to the line somehow Corbridge managed to turn it over and from under their own posts kicked long. The Northern defenders seemed to have the kick covered but somehow managed to misjudge the bounce and allow the chasing Corbridge attackers to kick the ball on and win the chase to the touch down scoring a try to tie the game on 72 minutes. Northern still went for the win but a tiring Northern pack were exposed on 75 minutes when the Corbridge fly half danced past several attempted tackles to put his right wing in for an unconverted try out wide. Northern pressed for another score from the restart but the Corbridge defence held out.

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