NORTHALLERTON first team continued their winning start to the year with a scrappy and hard fought 22-32 away win at Wheatley Hills.

The home team seemed to be in disarray at the start of the game with a couple of players arriving late. North took advantage of the early confusion with a Sam Taylor try, plus a conversion and a penalty from Ashley Rio in the first twelve minutes.

After fifteen minutes Hills’s late arrivals took to the pitch and the game was then much more of an even affair for the remainder of the afternoon. Hills replied with a try after twenty minutes to get back into the game.

North responded only two minutes later with a well worked try through the backs finished off by Rio dissecting the home team defence and scoring under the posts to make the conversion a formality.

After thirty minutes North suffered a huge blow with the loss of prop Joe Osleton which severely disrupted Norths scrummaging prowess.

Just before half time Norths defence fell for a dummy out wide which allowed the home team winger to touch down near the flag. North were dealt a double blow when the referee then also yellow carded young Joe Greiff for an infringement in the build up to the try.

Half time 10-17 to Northallerton.

Straight from the kick off North regained possession and evaded the Hills rush defence to score a unconverted try in the corner from Sandy Gray. Again the home team refused to lie down, and after fifty minutes came back with another try, which was created by the forwards dominating the scrum before quickly releasing the ball out wide to score in the corner.

With the home team back to only seven points behind, North had to up their game or risk throwing away the lead.

Taylor again came to Norths rescue with another fine try assisted by utility player Simon Manthorpe. As Rio was lining up the conversion from an acute angle, a strong gust of wind blew the ball off the tee, forcing Rio into a quick but perfectly executed drop kick for the conversion. Five minutes later Rio added a penalty to give North a bit more breathing room with a seventeen point gap.

Wheatley Hills continued to press for the last fifteen minutes but good organisation from Rio and defending from the whole team, kept Wheatley Hills mostly at bay.

Hills however, finally got the try they deserved one minute from time, which the fly half converted with his only successful kick of the game.

Final score 22-32 to Northallerton.

Man of the match was awarded to fly half Ashley Rio.

Next week Northallerton have their first home game of 2019 as they welcome Old Grovians to Brompton Lodge with a 2.15pm kick off.

Finally, all at Northallerton Rugby Club would like to wish Alexander Metcalfe a speedy recovery after being taken into hospital following last weeks game at Barnsley with a damaged kidney.