AFTER an extensive pre-season training schedule Northallerton fielded a squad of nearly 30 players when they narrowly beat Newton Aycliffe at home.

Northallerton were led by newly appointed captain Joe Terry in a game of four 20 minute quarters. North welcomed back a couple of old faces, including ex-captain Liam Lincoln and the Swall brothers, Ian and Phil.

The first twenty minutes were spent with both teams making plenty of errors due to rustiness.

The second period was a much better effort with North going close to scoring. Winger Jack Whittaker and utility player Steve Metcalfe both went close to the whitewash, only to be stopped by some excellent defending.

Just before the break though, the visitors opted to take the easy penalty to go in 0-3 up.

North made changes before the third quarter to give fringe players and newcomers a run out.

Aycliffe also rotated their squad, which led to a stalemate.

In the fourth period both teams fielded their strongest teams in preparation for next week’s games. North put some great moves together with Johnny Franks and Jason Simmons looking a useful partnership.

And with just minutes to go North finally made the breakthrough, with Simmons touching down. Jedd Bainbridge was unable to make the conversion leaving a nervy final five minutes in which North just held on.

The only downside was an injury to an Aycliffe player near the end, when he made a try-saving tackle near the line, resulting in a suspected broken jaw.

Next week Northallerton start the season away at Wensleydale in a cup game, kick-off is at 3pm.