With half of the team deciding to spend their Saturday afternoon at Mint Festival, Wetherby took a slightly under strength team up the A1 to Northallerton. The preparation for the game was made more disorganised by a last minute drop out and a Bradley Mason classic as he sent a picture of a flat tyre ten minutes after he was supposed to be at Northallerton.
Wetherby kicked off and put pressure on the hosts early as they forced a penalty just inside the Northallerton half. Archie Youlden confidently stepped up and claimed he had the kick in his range. The penalty grazed the outside of the posts, but unfortunately the posts it grazed were on the adjacent second team pitch.
Northallerton soaked up the early pressure and used the boot of their fly half to gain territory. With their first sign of attacking ball, a good tactical kick by the Northallerton 10 got in behind Wetherby, and the nippy home full-back to hack through and dot down for the games opening score. 7-0.
Wetherby were stunned and again failed to deal with a clearing kick. This time the ball spilled into the hands of the Northallerton outside centre who rounded some soft tackles to put Northallerton firmly ahead in the game. 14-0.
The visitors needed to get a foot-hold in the game and were aided by a dropped ball from the hosts in their own territory. A well won scrum, thanks to the eventual arrival of vagrant prop Bradley Mason gave Wetherby front foot ball. Archie Youlden orchestrated the backs well and sent AJ Hills through a huge hole and under the sticks, a try that will have brought welcome relief from the nagging he got all week from his girlfriend about his mention in last week’s match report. 14-7.
Wetherby were firmly on the front foot and entered the Northallerton twenty two again. With Wetherby looking dangerous, Northallerton slowed the ball down cynically and Wetherby had to settle for three points from the boot of Youlden. 14-10.
As half-time approached Wetherby went knocking again and forced Northallerton back towards their own line. Having earned a five metre scrum Wetherby were looking to attack again but a contentious penalty against Mattie Chappell saw the chance slip away and the hosts hare down field chasing another huge kick. The full-back again raced free and landed a huge sucker punch right on the stroke of half-time despite Wetherby’s determination to get back into the game.
Half-time: Northallerton 21-10 Wetherby
Wetherby knew they needed to start strongly in the second half and did just that as they surged into the Northallerton 22. Having spent most of last season injured, the Lacey brothers played together in wetherby colours for the first time. If you’re not sure how Brandon and Rhys are related from looking at them, watch shrek 2 where Shrek (Rhys) takes a love potion and turns into a handsome man with dreamy hair (Brandon). It was handsome Brandon Lacey who crossed for the reds out wide to close the gap to 6 points. The touch line conversion attempt hit the post, which would come back to bite wetherby in the end. 21-15.
Wetherby’s try appeared to galvanise Northallerton and with the penalty count slowly creeping up against Wetherby, Northallerton were able to put pressure on their visitors. Another chip in behind the wetherby defence saw North’s full back secure his hat-trick despite having barely carried the ball throughout the entire the game. 26-15.
Northallerton went straight back on the offensive and used their line-out drive to good effect as they forced their way towards the wetherby line. Having broken down the initial drive, wetherby were able to hold out until the Impressive Northallerton captain went over to extend their lead to three scores. 31-15.
Just as in the first half Wetherby showed great character to put pressure back on Northallerton and worked hard to get back into the game. As wetherby got into the opposition 22 again, Northallerton had a man sent to the bin for another cynical penalty. The forwards hammered away at the line and came close fine and again before Harry Kaye spotted the gap and burst over for Wetherby’s third try. 31-22.
Wetherby surged forward again from the kick off and having the added dimension of Alex Dus Andrew Trotman at full back gave Wetherby more front foot ball. Again the forwards surged forward, and again it was Harry Kaye who was the recipient, something that left him confident enough to go out in a cricket shirt on Saturday night. 31-29.
With wetherby searching to get into the Northallerton half and buy a penalty and win the game, their hosts showed great composure to retain the ball in the wetherby half and kill off the game.
Full-Time: Northallerton 31-29 Wetherby
Another tight game between these two sides, and one in which wetherby showed great heart to get back into the game and get 2 well deserved bonus points from the game.
MOM: Steve Hoather - Led from the front
DOD: Bradley Mason - Flat passenger side front