NORTHALLERTON first team started off the year on the wrong foot as they threw away a 13 point lead to fall to a 20-19 defeat away at Thornensians.

North took the lead through a Ashley Rio penalty after only three minutes. North then increased their lead after 20 minutes with a unconverted try from Dom Dalby, which owed a lot to Doug Mullholland’s flamboyant dummy to wrong foot the Thorne defence.

After 25 minutes, Iain Swall stole a Thorne lineout on their own 22 and proceeded to keep the opposing scrum half at bay to go over for another unconverted try.

Thorne slowly came back into the game and were rewarded with a try after a precise cross field kick was collected and touched down in the corner after thirty minutes. The fly half also added the conversion to bring Thorne back to within touching distance.

Just before half time both teams exchanged penalties to go in at the the break 10-16 to North.

Within two minutes of the start of the second half North were dealt a double blow, with firstly the loss of Jeremy Deas to a knee injury, followed a minute later with a yellow card for Jonny Baker.

While North were down to 14 men, Thorne took advantage with crash ball run from their hefty winger who broke through the North defence to touch down under the posts and take a one point lead.

Again both teams exchanged penalties with Thorne just holding out at the end for their hard fought narrow win. A draw may have been a fair result but all credit to Thornensians for fighting back for the victory.

North’s man of the match was awarded to Dom Dalby.

Next week North firsts are at home to West Park Leeds with a 2.15pm kick off.

Northallerton seconds also returned to action and also suffered a close 22-25 home defeat to Sedgefield Saxons. North’s points came via tries from David Baker, Paul Dixon and Graeme Fergus. Brian Tucker added two conversions and one penalty to earn the man of the match award.

Next week North seconds are scheduled to be away at Stocktonians with a 2.15pm kick off.