Northallerton first team travelled to Castleford to play a short notice arranged friendly against a very strong second team in only their second competitive game in seven weeks.
Northallerton came away with a hard fought and well deserved 24-17 win.
North’ were up against familiar opposition, as many of Castleford’s current second team used to be in the first team when both teams were in the same division only a few years ago.
North’ shook off any early rustiness with fly half Tim Tombling calling the moves and organising his backs very efficiently.
This was allowing space for North’s flankers to support the backs and make plenty of ground. It was back rower Ian Duffus who got North’s first try following good work from Lee Peake and Martin Dennison. Tim Tombling again proved his worth with an excellent conversion.
The home team hit back almost immediately with a well worked try of their own following missed tackles in midfield from Northallerton.
However, captain Paul Dixon rallied his troops and led by example to score yet another try in his most prolific scoring season in over 25 years of senior rugby.
Ten minutes later Cas’ again came back into the game with another try caused by North’s mistakes to even up the score. Just before half time both teams exchanged penalties to go in at the break tied 17-17.
North’ made a couple of changes in the second half and introduced veteran prop Bainbridge to shore up the scrummaging and moved Richard Lonsdale to his more familiar second row spot.
North’ now had total domination in the forwards but were unable to string many moves together in the loose.
On the few occasions North’ got the ball out wide young winger Rob Green was looking very dangerous.
It was Green who got his just reward with a try 15 minutes from time, when he received the ball from a huge miss pass from Tombling to side step his opposite number and outpaced the covering full back to score under the posts. Tombling again converting with his usual calmness.
North’ just about managed to keep control for the remainder of the game despite Lonsdale again being yellow carded for a minor infringement, and emerged victorious.
Next week North’ resume league action at home to Bramley Phoenix in Yorkshire Three.
Northallerton fielded a combined second and third team at home to Wharfedale and also emerged winners 20-13 in a mostly entertaining game.
Both teams will be keeping their eyes on the weather forecast with more wintry showers predicted during the week.
They will be desperate to get back to competitive league action after a long break since their last domestic game.