AFTER several weeks of having too many players, Whitby Harlequins had to travel to Northallerton with only 13 men due to work commitments and several academy players and veteran Tim Richardson helping out the first team.
Northallerton sportingly lent Whitby one player, leaving them one player short but it still left Whitby with a huge task of trying to get an important win that would take them to third in their league.
Northallerton must have thought they were in for an easy win playing with the slope and wind and an extra player.
In the first five minutes, their big pack rolled down the field, pushing their back line to score under the ‘Quins posts.
But as in the past few weeks, Whitby had not read the script and from the kick-off, the Whitby pack chased down the ball, forcing the home team to put up a high kick that was collected by Quins’ full back Neil Purves.
He ran the ball back at the visitors and fed Craig Hall who was stopped just short of the tryline before Bruce Reed bulldozed his way over to score.
Whitby kept up the pressure and worked the ball upfield with Ryan Vasey and Mick Latus working well to keep the play tight and not allow Northallerton a chance use their man advantage in open play.
Matt Kendrew increased Whitby’s lead after breaking three tackles, followed shortly after when his centre partner Barry Heyes sprinted from his own half to touch down, converting both tries.
Just before half-time, Andy McGreavey went on a barnstorming run up the wing to set up a ruck from which prop Craig Hall slipped over to score in the corner.
From the visitors’ kick-off his fellow prop Dusty Hare charged upfield and with some good passing beetween himself, John Fish and Darrin Wright, Dusty took a great pass from Wright and showed a good turn of speed to outpace the home team’s defence and give Whitby a 29-5 lead going into the break.
Shortly into the second half, disaster nearly struck when influential stand-off Mick Latus had to have a break with a tightening hamstring.
But this spurred on Northallerton, who camped on the Whitby tryline but once again heroic tackling from Whitby, especially Craig Devonport and Dusty Hare, kept the visitors out.
Northallerton eventually found a gap in the Whitby defence to score their second try but Whitby came straight back when Kendrew went on a dazzling run to score under the posts, converted by Heyes.
Latus returned to the field of play and took up the full back position and was soon called into action, pulling of a stunning tackle when a Northallerton player was over the Whitby tryline, but Latus knocked the ball out of his grasp to save a try.
Robert Bruce scored a second converted try and shortly after, Northallerton replied with a try of their own when they got the ball wide and use their numbers advantage.
With 10 minutes to go, Latus’ hamstring started to ease up and he returned to fly half, steering Harlequins to calmer waters and finished a superb win off when he dived over to score the last try.
Although the Harlequins/Acadamy side have had some great games so far this season this was probably the best so far.
Every player played out of his skin but man of the match went to Matt Kendrew for a great performance at centre.
This win leaves the Quins third in the league and with wins against the top two teams already under their belt, they are looking more like title contenders every week.
Anybody wishing to take up rugby and join the Quins are welcome to come up to training at the club on Tuesday or Thursday nights.
Contact coach Matt Webster on 07790 162692.
Northallerton 3rds 15 Whitby Harlequins 48