Northampton seal regional trophy

Northampton, unbeaten all season in the East, produced a stunning all round display to pick up the Regional trophy in only their second season in the Conference.

With two-try full back Chris Webber outstanding, Fred Braithwaite a stalwart on defence, and Blair Hartley and Seb Ward in rampaging form, Casuals posted two tries in three minutes just after the hour mark to ensure the spoils in a remarkably polished team performance.

Casuals, who brought a vociferous band of fans but were without star full back Michael Hulme because of illness paid an early price for losing possession on their own 30.

Mark Walker’s second strong drive set the position and hooker Philip Wall’s scoot from dummy half saw him cross for a trademark try in the third minute.

Northampton’s first raid saw them inadvertently pass into touch after good work from Hartley and Kieran Richards but they were soon in their stride.

On the back of a penalty for a high tackle on half way, Darren Johnson and Webber combined, Ward striding out the tackle to go over between the posts, Kie Fewster converting.

Vikings gave away another penalty and lost the ball just inside their own half, Carl Sivdat putting Webber into his stride and he twisted out the tackle to go over at the side of the posts.

Andy Gray’s shallow kick to the wing gave Jarrow a chance but they knocked on from the scrum and Casuals again made them pay.

Hooker Matthew Derry, impressive Braithwaite, Webber and Fewster combined, Johnson sending Mark Dunkley over out wide on the power play to make it 16-4.

Vikings lacked a decisive finish, Wilcock being shoved into touch at the corner flag by Dan Brotherton after good work from Paul Dodsworth and Dave Herbert.

Accidental offside scuppered Jarrow’s next threat and again Ward was menacing breaking clear on the counter, Webber just being caught in the shadow of the posts on the last tackle.

Jarrow finished the half the stronger, Walker the instigator and on the back of a double penalty award, Todd Riley’s fine pass sent in Irving, his conversion attempt drifting across the posts to leave it 16-8 to the Casuals at the break.

Casuals started the second half well, Fewster making a 30 metre break and linking with Webber but his inside ball was intercepted.

Northampton’s defence on their own line was tested, Dave Norman, Wall and Gray going close, Riley gaining a penalty from his grubber through as a chaser was held back.

From the tap, Barry Walker, on the end of a long pass, was held out and, at the other end, he was called on to clear after his kick dead ricocheted back off a post.

Vikings made the most of the reprieve, Dodsworth charging forward, Riley linking with Wall and Dave Norman stretching over by the posts, Irving’s goal narrowing the gap to two points.

From the re-start, Michael Ewart knocked on to put the Vikings under pressure and Kier Flatt burrowed over from close in.

Fewster and Hartley put the Casuals back on the attack, Johnson’s superb cut out pass put Flatt away and he turned the ball inside for Webber to go over.

Jarrow regained a short kick off, Gary Bates and Irving going close but from the turn over, Northampton decisively hit them on the counter.

Brotherton stepped his marker and raced clear from 80 metres for a third try in eight minutes.

Walker tried vainly to haul the Vikings back into contention, but Casuals gilded their triumph with two superb late tries.

Johnson’s clever kick was fielded by Richards, he off loaded to veteran Mick Bryant and Hartley blasted through a hole on an unstoppable charge.

Sivdat was just denied in the corner after Brotherton got the ball away well and skipper Derry linked but Ward saved the best until last; twisting into space, jinking away and fending off two would-be pursuers on a 30 metre glory charge for Casuals’ eighth touchdown.

GAME BREAKER – Dan Brotherton’s long range try in the 67th minute, Northampton’s second in quick succession, secured a hugely merited win.

GAME STAR – Casuals had multiple candidates, not least Seb Ward, but Chris Webber’s class at the back just edged it.


1 Bruce Parker
2 Ben Wilcock
3 Dave Herbert
4 Dave Irving
19 Barry Walker
6 Andy Gray
14 Todd Riley
8 James Fritch
9 Philip Wall
10 Mark Walker
11 Dave Norman
12 Gary Bates
13 Anthony Veitch

Subs (all used)
14 Graeme Ross
15 Gareth Short
18 Paul Dodsworth
20 Michael Ewert

Tries: Wall (3), Irving (36), Norman (57)
Goals: Irving 1/3


1 Chris Webber
18 Joe Rice
22 Kieran Richards
4 Keir Flatt
5 Dan Brotherton
15 Kie Fewster
7 Darren Johnson
8 Mick Bryant
9 Matthew Derry
10 Fred Braithwaite
11 Seb Ward
20 Blair Hartley
13 Ollie Rees

Subs (all used)
14 Paul Beckett
16 Mark Dunkley
19 Carl Sivdat
6 Matt Meek

Tries: Ward (10, 79), Webber (15, 64), Dunkerley (23), Flatt (59), Brotherton (67), Hartley (71)
Goals: Fewster 2/5, Johnson 2/2

Men of the match:       VIKINGS – Mark Walker      CASUALS – Chris Webber
Half time: Jarrow 8 Northampton 16
Referee: Bob Smithies

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