HORDEN were unable to hold on to a good lead, but at least they have shown some real promise for the rest of the season.
The colliery side started well, scoring within the first few minutes.
Nothern were attacking in the home half, working the phases but Horden’s defence was good and forced a spill.
Luke Watson hacked on and the ball bounced up for the chasing Craig Jones to gather and score.
The returning winger got his second after 10 minutes. Paul James picked up at the back of the scrum, burst through a couple of tackles before feeding Jones who hit a great inside line and ended up going under the posts.
Jones converted to make it 12-0.
And last season’s top scorer crossed for a third ‘try’ almost immediately afterwards. The ball was moved wide to Jones, where he chipped ahead and won the race for the breakdown only for the referee to judge he’d impeded a defender as they both dived for the ball.
It proved an important decision with Horden denied a potential 19-point advantage inside 15 minutes.
The teams swapped penalties to make the score 15-3.
Northern started coming back into the game and when they took possession from a home line-out they moved the ball and a missed tackle in the midfield allowed their centre through and they eventually went over in the corner to cut the gap to 15-10.
The Newcastle side continued to press hard and just on half-time took the lead. Horden lost a scrum against the head and Northern drove over for a converted score to go 17-15 up.
The second half was a more scrappy affair.
Northern put a penalty over to make it 20-15.
Both sides pressed but without the accuracy to get the score.
With 10 minutes to go, Horden were well in the game at just five points behind but could not get the next score.
And they were made to pay when they picked up a loose ball to go over for a converted try.
The try seemed to deflate the home team and Northern scored again on the stroke of full-time when one of their forwards burst through a couple of tackles to go under the posts.
Head coach Glenn Bowman said: “The lads were gutted at the end.
“It was a game we could have won.
“There was a lot of effort by the team and I was pleased with some of the areas we’d worked on during the week.
“But the lack of possession in the second half cost us, we have to sort that out.”