Delighted Old Northamptonians are celebrating promotion to National League Three after claiming a 20-5 play-off win over Worcester Wanderers at Billing Road on Saturday.
ONs were 10-5 ahead at the break, and then controlled the second period to ease through.
A well struck penalty from Alex Rose gave the ONs an early lead, and on 20 minutes they scored the opening try.
A patient build up saw the visitors defence stretched as play was switched from one side of the field to the other before Rory Seymour, the only ever present in the ONs team this season, raced in to register his 17th try of the season. Rose converted to make the score 10-0.
ONs applied plenty of pressure as they tried to seal the game, and Worcester were at one point reduced to 14 men after a yellow card, but the visitors held out before stunning ONs with a try of their own to make it 10-5 at half-time.
The second half opened in scrappy fashion, but ONs were looking the stronger and they stretched their lead to 17-5 thanks to a try from Dan Napier, which Rose converted. The intensity of the match didn’t drop, and Wanderers battled hard to get back in the game, but the ONs defence was secure.
As time started to run out for Worcester, the final nail in the coffin was a Rose penalty to make it 20-5, and the home team’s celebrations could begin.
The victory was a fitting end to Rhys Hughes’ three-year tenure as captain and also to Matt Mills, his vice captain during this period.Mills is off to Dubai on a teaching appointment and the whole club wishes him every success.
Towcestrians 20 Ivybridge 25
WHILE there was play-off delight for ONs, there was heartbreak for the second year running for Towcestrians.
Tows made a slow start, conceding 15 points through two tries and a penalty in the opening exchanges.
The dream of promotion seemed all but lost until a Matt Yuill try brought Tows back into the game.
The second half started as well as the first for the visiting team asthey calmly scored wide out after some good passing play to go 20-7 ahead.
Tows swiftly replied, Mark Yeates crossing after some great handling skills from the backs.
The home side’s fightback continued through the pack as they drove over from a lineout, but the conversion was missed, keeping Tows to within three points of Ivybridge at 20-17.
With 10 minutes left, Tows received a penalty in front of the posts and Falvey expertly converted it.
The comeback looked complete, however Ivybridge had other plans and in the dying minutes they scored their fourth try to win it.
Tows colts finished the season with a 29-15 win over Olney.
Old Scouts XV 64 Heathens 19
Heathens stepped in to play this game following the withdrawal of Old Scouts’ Welsh opposition, and faced a Scouts team that played the majority of their players out of position.
But they still had the necessary skill and understanding to put in some excellent running and support play against a team used to playing a few levels lower.
After just 33 minutes Scouts were 24-0 ahead, and seemingly out of sight.
Heathens did pull a try back before half-time though, with Ben Clift touching down and Simon Smith converting to make it 24-7.
Scouts scored a converted try early in the second half to go 31-7 up, before Heathens responded again with a try from skipper Dan Stonehouse.
The superior Old Scouts fitness then began to show and four quickfire tries saw them 57-12 ahead.
Heathens wouldn’t lie down though, and they scored another try through Joe Clift, who joined his brother on the scoresheet, and Smith’s conversion made it 57-19.
Scouts were to have the last word though as they added another converted try before the end.
On Saturday, Heathens have been invited to participate in the inaugural James Cushing Memorial Day fixture that is being held at Mens Own in memory of ‘Cush’, the club’s long-serving bar steward who passed away last year. Heathens will be including Cush’s son and grandson, Paul and Reece, in their line-up.