Wanderers lost 16 – 23 to Corbridge Centurions (County Plate Final).Match report by Huw Reynolds:
Northern travelled with high expectations to the sun kissed neutral venue of Ponteland for the County Plate Final. They met a Corbridge side that had pulled out of the Candy league early in the season due to player shortage, but although their squad numbered only 16 on Saturday, it was a strong one and fielded players who had played at a much higher level. Wanderers also fielded a strong squad full of youth, which bodes well, but also splattered with experience. As you might expect therefore, the teams were well matched and the result could have gone either way.
Centurions started the stronger and for the first 10 minutes pressurised. They came close more than once, but our defence was excellent, with good shape and line speed and Corbridge settled for a 3 point penalty. For the remainder of the half, Wanderers dominated territory and possession and came close to crossing the try line more than once, but as is often the case, a couple of slipped tackles in mid field allowed Corbridge to break away and score. Wanderers again responded with Jordan Brown, who has been playing very well over recent weeks, slotting a penalty. Back came Corbridge with another break away try after some excellent off-loading. We were in danger of losing touch at this stage but after sustained pressure on the opposition try line, Bertie Marks, quick witted soul that he is, took a tapped penalty and crashed over for an unconverted try to keep Wanderers well in the hunt. 8 – 13 at half-time.
The second half started with a “Tang”, Louis Tang (who had another excellent match). From the kick off, he gathered a bouncing ball, broke a couple of tackles and weaved his way to score under the posts after 24 seconds. In a match where we missed the easy kicks and slotted the difficult ones, Josh Vince-Irwin hit the post with the conversion. Wanderers were now clearly in the ascendancy and further pressure led to another penalty further out and Vince-Irwin on this occasion dissected the posts to give us 3 point cushion. From here on in, the match ebbed and flowed. 2 tries on 10 and 15 minutes saw Centurions regain the lead and despite both sides having further opportunities, this is how the match ended.
In the end, it was narrow margins that won the day – a couple of missed tackles here and there, some reckless offloading, some poor execution at the breakdown – but perhaps more than anything, considering a Wanderers average age of low 20’s, Corbridge’s greater nous and experience saw them home. Nevertheless, although disappointing, this was a good performance from a very young side, many of whom clearly have the ability to go on to play at a higher level. Hopefully we can now round off the season with some well-deserved wins.
Tries: Berti Marks, Louis Tang
Penalties: Jordan Brown, Josh Vince-Irwin
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