13/14 Wanderers. Wanderers 12 - 14 Middlesbrough Wasps

Northern fielded their strongest XV of the season in this fixture against the side third in the league and made an excellent start when from a line out in the Middlesbrough 22 the forwards recycled the ball and drove Middlesbrough back. Number 8 Paul Brady picked up and was able to power over the line for a try on 3 minutes that scrum half Sam Storey converted. Northern continued to press and wasted several opportunities to release their strike runners when the ball was kicked or not passed by the backs. The Northern pack was on top at the set pieces but Middlesbrough’s counter rucking game was effective at the breakdown and following a brief foray into Northern territory Middlesbrough were just wide with a penalty attempt on 10 minutes. Northern were dominating the game for long periods but their backs continued to waste good possession and on 29 minutes Middlesbrough managed a converted try somewhat against the run of play when poor defence by Northern gave away a soft score. Northern continued to press but only managed a long range penalty attempt on 33 minutes which drifted wide to leave the half time score: Northern Wanderers7–Middlesbrough Wasps7.
 
The second half started in much the same way as the first with Northern taking the game to Middlesbrough. Middlesbrough did manage a further penalty attempt on 47 minutes but his fell short. Middlesbrough were pressing at this stage but Northern’s defence held firm led by wing Neil Carter who was knocking ball carriers back at every opportunity. He made one bone crunching tackle on 49 minutes that left the Middlesbrough player seeing stars off the pitch for several minutes and took the sting out of the Middlesbrough offence. On 52 minutes Northern finally created a scoring opportunity when fly half Spike Strang made a good half break and despite being high tackled managed to offload the ball to supporting centre Doug Wilson who was able to force his way over the line for an unconverted try. Northern had several chances to increase their lead but again squandered good ball. Middlesbrough made a good drive into the Northern 22 where a series of defensive errors let the Middlesbrough forwards tap and score from a short range penalty 5 metres out. The conversion was good and Middlesbrough were in the lead for the first time on 58 minutes. Northern tried hard to get another score but lack of composure and vision meant that at least another three good try scoring opportunities were spurned. A final chance to win the game was given to Northern when Middlesbrough conceded a penalty 30 metres out two minutes from time but with regular kicker Sam Storey off the pitch the kick was missed and Middlesbrough closed the game out for a narrow victory.

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