NORTHALLERTON first team continued their pursuit of a May trip to Twickenham, with a 29-10 victory over Aspull RFC at Brompton Lodge in the quarter final of the National Cup.

Aspull were fresh off celebrating winning their league, winning 17/17 and scoring over 900 points in a remarkable season.

Undeterred at this, North set about the visitors straight from the first whistle hoping the visitors hadn’t got the long journey over the Pennines out of their system.

With only six minutes on the clock, Aspull had a scrum on their own five yard line and were under immense pressure from the North pack. Being pushed backwards, the Aspull number eight was forced to pick the ball up but was immediately tackled by Harry Laking who dislodged the ball in the process. Iain Swall was the first to react dropping on the ball over the try line. Ashley Rio added the conversion from a difficult angle in a very strong swirling wind.

Ten minutes later North had a lineout ten yards out from the Aspull line. From the attempted catch and drive, the visitors illegally pulled the maul down but the referee played advantage for Phil Swall to amble over for a try under the posts. Rio again adding the conversion.

Straight from the restart Rio collected the ball in midfield and made a forty metre break before off loading for the supporting Sam Taylor to score a unconverted try in the corner.

Aspull then began to put some good rugby together and forced North into giving away a mounting penalty count. After thirty minutes the visitors took advantage of a straight forward penalty in front of the posts. Five minutes later a chip over the top from the Aspull fly half was collected in the air by their winger to score a converted try and go in at the break only nine points behind at 19-10.

Five minutes into the second half it was Norths turn to take advantage of an easy penalty in front of the posts from Rio.

Fifteen minutes into the second half North freshened things up bringing on replacements Martin Oosthuizen, Jack Radcliffe and Alex Bilby for Harry Laking, Doug Mulholland and Phil Swall.

North took control of the game again and exerted more pressure on the visitors thanks partly to captain Jonny Franks organisation and decision making. On the hour mark a grubber kick through from Rio was touched down by Taylor under the posts making the conversion easy for Rio.

The remaining twenty minutes of the game were even with Aspull attempting to get back into the game but North snuffing out any threats.

With only five minutes left on the clock there was slight concern for the referee who collided with a player and was left flat out on the floor. However after treatment from both teams physios the referee was deemed fit to continue.

Aspull paid the price for a slow start and never really recovered from conceding three tries inside the first twenty minutes as North wound the clock down.

Final score 29-10.

Man of the match was awarded to Ashley Rio who just edged out Rob Greene and Jonny Frank.

The victory puts Northallerton into the semi final of the National Cup against an opponent and a venue yet to be named. The date has been pencilled to play on April 20th which is Norths next free weekend.

Next week North resume league action with a home game against Yarnbury, kick off at 3pm.

Northallerton second team played Middlesbrough seconds and produced a valiant and spirited display before falling to a narrow 0-5 defeat. North spent the last twenty minutes of the game camped inside the Boro 22 but could not find the all important try.

Next week North seconds are awaiting fixture confirmation.