NORTHALLERTON first team travelled to Wetherby with an injury-ravaged squad and returned on the wrong end of a 17-5 defeat.

North’s followers were optimistic after a blistering start that saw them 5-0 up after only a minute. Iain Swall caught the ball mid-air from kick off and galloped 60 metres downfield before being halted.

North quickly recycled the ball twice before scrum half Jack Radcliffe touched down in the corner. The conversion from James Hopkin fell well short. The first couple of minutes were as good as it got for North as Wetherby got a grip on the game and even managed to out-muscle North’s large forwards.

Wetherby scored three first half tries, all from lineouts ten metres from North’s line. North had no answer to their catch and drives or a short throw to the hooker, who ambled over the whitewash. Only one conversion was successful but the other two were very close.

Just before half time North suffered a double blow with a yellow card to Iain Swall for a late tackle and then a injury to his brother Phil that put him out of the game. Half time 17-5.

The second half was a dour and lacklustre 40 minutes with neither team scoring or even coming close. Only in the last minute did there look like a threat of scoring but good tackling by Harry O’Connor and Graham Currigan kept the home team at bay.

Man of the match was awarded to Harry O’Connor.

Next week there is no game for North firsts, but they are back in action on February 1 at home to Wensleydale with a 2.15pm kick off.

On the adjacent pitch there was a much more exciting game as North seconds beat Wetherby seconds by a score of 24-29.

The lead exchanged hands a number of times before North scored the match winning try one minute from time thanks to Brian Tucker.

North’s tries came from Paul Dennison, James Read, Tom White and Danny Callaghan. Tucker added two conversions to his try for the man of the match award.

Next week North seconds are hoping to confirm an away fixture to Yarm seconds.

Northallerton Ladies also had their second consecutive weekend of rugby but they could not build on last week’s win with a eight tries to nil defeat to a very strong Ripon Ladies team. North defended brilliantly for the first 30 minutes with crunching tackles coming in from all the team.

Just before the break North suffered a devastating injury to influential Ali O’Brien who had to go off with no replacement available.

North’s lady of the day was awarded to debutant Martha Stevenson on her first ever game of rugby.

The return fixture is away to Ripon on Sunday, February 2 and all ex and new players are welcome.