AS in the previous two weeks, Northallerton had to come from behind, and drag out a narrow, last gasp victory to keep their unbeaten run going. This time North had to fight back from 7-23 down to squeeze out at 24-23 home victory over Barnsley.

There were no surprises amongst the vast home crowd when North went 3-0 down after only five minutes due to a silly penalty in front of the posts.

After fifteen minutes though, good work from player/coach James Hopkin led to Iain Swall going over the try line to keep his customary try per game run going, Ashley Rio added the conversion.

Expectation amongst spectators, was that North would now move up a gear and pressure the visitors. However, straight from the restart, a wayward pass was intercepted by the Barnsley number 12 who easily cantered in to score under the posts.

North tried in vain to get back into the game, but Barnsley’s large and well drilled forwards did an excellent job in nullifying the home teams efforts.

Just before half time North gave away another straightforward penalty, due mainly to frustration.

Half time 7-13.

The second half started as badly as the first finished with another interception try for Barnsley originating from a speculative pass by North inside their own 22.

Ten minutes into the second half things went from bad to worse with another easy and simple penalty awarded to Barnsley to put them 7-23 in front.

Just after the hour mark, fly half Rio then took the game by the scruff of the neck and led by example, breaking through three tacklers to score under the posts and convert it himself to put North back into the game.

This try ruffled the feathers of the visitors as North seemed to get an extra bounce in their step.

Norths forwards then began to out muscle the tiring Barnsley pack and were awarded a penalty try after 3 infringements in the space of 30 seconds. Hopkin taking most of the credit for the forward led assault. The try put North only two points behind and nearly ten minutes left.

North went for all out attack in the Barnsley half, but to the visitors credit, they put their bodies on the line time and time again to keep North out.

With only one minute left, and both teams looking out on their feet, North were awarded a penalty 45 metres out and at a slight angle, which Rio confidently lined up. Despite the distance, the kick sailed perfectly through the uprights with plenty to spare to give North the narrowest of victories. Final score 24-23.

Man of the match was of course unanimously awarded to Ashley Rio for his 100% kicking display and nerveless final kick.

Next week Northallerton 1st team are at home to Wheatley Hills, kick off 3pm.

Northallerton’s second team game was again cancelled, this time with the opposition crying off the day before.

However the 2nds hope to have their first game of the season away at Selby next week also with a 3pm kick off.