A SECOND successive promotion would be a step too far at this stage for Barnard Castle on the evidence of Saturday's lesson.

By handing Northern their bonus point try in injury time they allowed the visitors to go five points ahead at the top of Durham and Northumberland One.

Barney's game in hand is another tough one at Consett this week and they are likely to need maximum points over the run-in to keep pace with the team coached by former Blaydon stalwart Dave Guthrie.

Northern took control from the outset and the only time Barney threatened to get into the game was when, at 6-0 down, they kicked three penalties to touch.

From the third drive they got to the line, only to spill the ball, and when Northern relieved the pressure in a long breakaway their first try swiftly followed.

A second followed from close range to make it 18-0 at half-time and when home coach Junior Fagalilo was one of two players sin-binned shortly after the restart there was no way back.

Although they conceded a third try while short-handed, Barney never gave up in their attempt to deny Northern the bonus point.

As that point could prove crucial, safety first should have been the priority in the closing stages. But Barney tried to run out of their own 22 and a careless pass allowed an interception try.

The absence of the prolific Chris McTurk left the team without a cutting edge and his former Mowden Park team-mate Liam Riley departed with a shoulder injury.

If Barney have to settle for the consolation prize it could be a home match in the promotion play-off against West Leeds, who look likely to finish second in Yorkshire One.