National Two North - Round One Review

Sedgley start with huge opening day victory
©Talking Rugby Union

It was a blockbuster start to the National Two North season with huge wins, stunning shocks and some sensational action on display. Here is what happened in the opening round of the new campaign.

Sedgley Park 51-18 Broadstreet

Early title favourites Sedgley Park got off to a storming start with an eight try demolition of Broadstreet.

Good recruitment in the summer, especially in the forwards, was highlighted on Saturday as they were the base which allowed the Tigers to run riot.

A brace from Shaun Manley and tries from Andrew Riley, Matthew Riley and Benjamin Lloyd gave the hosts a 32-8 lead at the break with Broadstreet's scores coming from Nathan Tilsley and a penalty from Dan Richards.

Sedge continued to be relentless in the second half as tries from Jamie Harrison and one more each for the Riley's wrapped up a superb opening day victory.

Myles Bean scored on debut for Broadstreet in the second-half and Luke Hibberd added the final five points of the afternoon for the Coventry based side.

Last time the sides met at Park Lane, 'Street were able to frustrate Sedge, but this time they just couldn't get into this encounter.

Stourbridge 22-5 Macclesfield 

Newcomers from National One - Macclesfield -  began life back in National Two North with a defeat away at Stourbridge.

Macc were unlucky to be behind by a 15-5 scoreline at the break as they dominated possession and overall will feel they missed key chances.

The home side took the lead thanks to a try from Tatenda Mukarati and that score was what Stourbridge needed as it settled them into the contest. 

Chris Scott nudged over a penalty for Stour, but they were reduced to 14 men when Rodney Petty deliberately knocked on when Macc looked certain to score.

Josh Fowles took advantage of this to cross and reduce the gap to just three points, but even with 14 men, Stour hit back through scrum-half Jacob Nash just before half-time.

The home side then controlled proceedings and scored the only try in the second half as Robert Hurrell forced his way over the line. The try was converted and it secured the hosts a 22-5 win.

Tynedale 17-20 Leicester Lions

Another side who came down from National One, Tynedale, also suffered an opening day defeat as a last gasp penalty from fly-half Will Bishop gave the visitors the victory.

This was Andy Buist's first game as Tynedale coach and he was left with a sinking feeling in Tyne's first league outing since their first ever relegation.

His side led 11-7 at half-time thanks to a Rob Parker penalty and a try via scrum-half Dan Taylor.

Leicester hit back just before the break when Sam Benjamin smashed his way through Tyne's defence to touch down.

Leicester then scored a penalty after the break, before Matty Outson's drop goal gave the hosts a four point lead with 30 minutes remaining, but the Lions roared back.

Benjamin's second try was one of individual class which gave the visitors the lead for the first time all day, but it looked like the hosts had earned a share of the points via Parker’s second penalty.

Parker could've won it but narrowly missed a superb penalty attempt, but Bishop had no such problems for Leicester as they took the points back to the Midlands.

Sandal 34-7 Luctonians

Newly promoted Sandal produced a brilliant display as they opened their National Two North account with a bonus point win v the Luctonians, but the points weren't safe until the latter stages of this match.

The hosts made the livelier start when Simon Frewin went over in the corner after a lovely weighted pass from fly-half Gregg Wood. James Briscoe scored the second try for Sandal before their attention was turned to defending.

After the Lucts had responded Sandal went in at the break 17-0 to the good when Alex Edler dived over from close range.

The visitors knew they were facing an uphill battle and scored early in the second half as second row Daniel Smith was helped over by his fellow forwards and the try was converted.

Sandal's James Stewart relieved some of the pressure on the hosts when he scored by the posts after excellent work by Brandon Staples and secured the bonus point.

Wood bisected the posts to add another three points to Sandal's rapidly growing tally before centre Mark Pease scored an exquisite individual try to round off a satisfying opening match of the season.

Sale FC 11-23 Caldy

Caldy started their National Two North campaign with an 11-23 win over newly-promoted Sale FC at Heywood Road.

Sale produced a number of unforced errors throughout the game whereas the visitors seemed to have the more clinical edge which was typified by tries from Paul Sellwood and Nick Royle either side of half-time.

It was Sale who took the game to the away side early on as they opened their scoring for the season with a penalty from fly-half Liam McGovern, but his opposite number – Jack Levin- responded with two of his own before Sellwood crossed on 30 minutes.

Levin nudged over another penalty and Sale were in danger of letting the game slip away from them, but winger Ciaran Conolly crucially touched down just before the break to keep his side well in this contest.

With the score at 8-16, McGovern reduced the gap to five points as he added another penalty, but Royle’s try just before the hour mark killed off Sale’s fightback.

From there, Sale just couldn’t break down the Caldy defence and became ill-disciplined as they were left frustrated by Gareth Davies’ & Simon Verbickas’ men.

Harrogate 15-10 Otley

A huge crowd at Harrogatte saw their side edge out their Yorkshire neighbours Otley.

It was a scoreless first-half as both defences stood strong and it continued until the 50th minute when a moment of magic broke the deadlock.

Harry Parrish began the move on the counter attack and the ball fell to Lewis Minikin who showed a burst of pace to score in the corner. 

Otley then hit back with a try from Freddie Watson after a series of driving mauls. Stephen Depledge's conversion put his side 5-7 ahead. 

Harrogate then went back on to the front foot and a penalty from Minikin restored their lead.

The hosts were really taking the game to Otley and then put the result out of the visitors reach when Parrish went in at the corrner with two minutes remaining.  Otley kicked a penalty to earn a bonus point in the dying embers for the game. 

Huddersfield 24-17 South Leicester

Huddersfield continued their excellent 2015 home record with a win over newly promoted South Leicester.

Two converted tries in the final 10 minutes from South Leicester secured them a losing bonus point, but in truth Huddersfield controlled the majority of this game.

The game had that 'first day of the season' feel about it, but fly-half Chris Bell got the ball rolling with an opening penalty after 10 minutes, but it was his half-back partner Dan Jeffrey who scored his side’s first try of the campaign.

Rickie Aley got South Leicester's first points of National Two North, but Field made it 17-3 at half-time as prop James Purcell went over. Bell converted.

Huddersfield flew out of the blocks in the second half as South Leicester were reduced to 14 men after Christopher Gibbs was sin-binned for a professional foul. Field took full advantage as Adam Malthouse managed to cross the whitewash and Bell made it 24-3.

Huddersfield were in complete control, but couldn't find another try and South Leicester started to mount a comeback.

William Cave  touched down for a converted try to make it 24-10 before the nerves started to creep in following Calum Gunn’s converted effort with five minutes remaining. However Field saw the game out.

Chester 19-15 Preston Grasshoppers

Garth Dew's Preston Grasshoppers began the new season with a losing bonus point at Chester. They came back from a two try deficit and they could've stolen all the points, but the hosts made sure of the win.

Chester began well as they scored two tries thanks to Shaun Strudwick and John Ketland to make it 12-0.

Preston then sparked into life as quick ball allowed them to surge forward before Scott Jordan scored. Jordan was at it again in the last play of the half as he linked up with fellow winger Charles Hough  to keep Preston in touch.

Chester wanted to make amends for a lacklustre end to the first period and pinned Preston in their own 22  at teh start of the second peiod before scoring midway through the half. Rhys Hayes saw, an exploited a gap to touch down for a converted try.

Hoppers' Sean Taylor narrowed the gap with a penalty but that was as good as it got for Preston as Chester ran the clock down for an opening day win. 

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