A heart-warming performance from Twos in big freeze

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Alnwick II 29 Gateshead II 10

In their last league game of the season and on a freezing day, the youthful Alnwick side warmed the atmosphere up for those hard enough to watch the game, writes Andrew Hodgson.

With three older heads to keep them right, the game was a great finale to their league season.

The standard was set from the shrill of the whistle, when veteran Ord sent the ball out wide. Great hands saw Straker, on his birthday, split the icy conditions up the wing, only to be harshly adjudged in touch by linesman, Stuart Allen.

As the crowd erupted about the hotly-disputed decision, Allen stood firm, explaining that as he was the oldest, he had the final say in the matter.

The forwards were competing against a burly Gateshead pack and had to hold them up twice over the line in the first half to stop certain tries.

Eventually their number 8, a veteran of more games than Snaith and Ord, finally got a deserved try for the visitors.

The front row, with Bremner back in the fold, after a short break with social media group Facebook, were holding firm and Smith (youngest of the infamous family) took a great ball through the centres and did what none of the other family members had ever done, carried three men over the line on his back to score a superb solo try (his words). Mallaburn was successful with the conversion.

It was Rory Mallaburn again, full of running and enterprise who got the next score. He danced round the opposition’s back row, like Bruce Forsyth chasing his wig, to score a good try and he duly converted the extra points.

Straker was next, after being denied previously by the frugal Allen. He made no mistake, scoring a good try following a good handling move, which even Annett managed not to drop, to score in the corner.

The second half was as brutally cold, but with Gothorpe scything down players like a lumberjack with trees, it was hard for Gateshead to get going.

He was ably helped by young Hewitson, a regulator in his own right, perfect second-row material, hard, nasty and full of energy. The scrum had fallen asleep in the early part of the half, but with the crowd coaxing them on, Lundy found his second wind and the problem was solved.

Mallaburn, again, was side-stepping and jinking like a deranged ballerina, so much so, that after his latest rendition of River Dance, he tripped to find he was over the line, another great try from the fly-half, which he converted too. This was followed by a good penalty which took the match beyond the Gateshead team.