MANAGING to field 15 players from various sources, Corbridge Centurions nearly caused a shock when they visited Ashington II.

Having only 11 men when they met at the clubhouse ahead of the journey, veteran Andy Purves volunteered to play full back and Ed Craney paid the penalty for turning up early as he was pinched from the Tynedale Raiders bench.

Furthermore, the Tynedale side persuaded two callow youths in the Ashington bar to fill in on the wings!

Despite the inauspicious beginnings, Corbridge put in a brave performance against an experienced home side that might have led to a victory if they had not lost the hardworking lock Keiran Adams to concussion midway through the second half.

It was the visitors who took the lead during an open first half, an alert Luke Murtough steppinginto the opposition backline to make a fine interception.

The centre showed a clean pair heels to run in from half way, with Reuben Oliver, part of a makeshift halfback pairing with Mark Smailes, adding the points.

A missed tackle allowed Ashington to whip the ball wide to their pacey left winger who just managed to touch down despite Chris Nicholls' heroic attempt to haul him down.

The game swung from end to end and Corbridge extended their lead when, following a fine driving run from Pete Forrester, a line-out ensued. Prop Rhys Loughead got his hands on the ball and was unstoppable from 20 metres out.

Despite some fine defending by Jason Armstrong and Andy Adams, the home side were able to cross from short range just before the break.

The second half was equally as close, but the big Ashington pack decided to keep the ball tight as their fly half began to kick for position.

Following the loss of a groggy Keiran Adams, they were able to force the ball over the line from close range for a brace of tries.

A scything break from Oliver was held up on the 22 metre line but was driven close by Owen Loughead and Rory Craney until a loose ball was hacked clear by Ashington into the grateful arms of his son, Ed Craney.

The younger Craney cleverly managed to feed the supporting guest winger who did well to touch down wide out on the left wing. A magnificent conversion from Oliver narrowed the gap.

This score put a spring in the step of the Centurions and a brilliant handling move, started by Smailes on his own 10 metre line, saw the ball moved deftly by Oliver, Murtough, Nicholls and Purves to the other guest winger who crossed wide out on the right.

He might have raced in to touch down under the posts but he played safe, leaving Oliver a difficult attempt to grab the lead but his effort sailed just wide.

At 25-24 and only 10 minutes remaining, the game could have gone either way as both sides created chances.

However, the home side settled matters close to the final whistle when Corbridge had again defended well but failed to clear a loose ball.

It fell into the hands of their flanker who scored from close range.