First-half spoils secure victory

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Alnwick 23 Stockton 13

Durham & Northumberland Division One

An excellent first-half performance saw Alnwick score all their points before having to withstand some fiery Stockton play in the second half.

Following an excellent kick to the Stockton 22, Alnwick won line-out ball through Adam Alexander, which made it out to Frank Hutchinson who released the ball to Ed Shell – his running and power took him through the defence to go over for a try under the posts leaving an easy conversion (7-0).

Straight from the restart Richard Ellis made ground before linking with Frank Hutchinson, who was hauled down with Stockton flanker Skirving being penalised for not releasing the player – O’Grady again added the points (10-0).

Successive offences by Stockton saw Alnwick surge back to the opposition 22 area, where the home forwards powered their way, only to be thwarted by an illegal piece of handling by Stockton prop Conway at a ruck, which saw O’Grady again slot over the penalty (13-0).

Alnwick were penalised at the restart – the Stockton kicker Good, though, pushed his kick wide of the posts.

Alnwick steamed back from the drop-out and sound tackling by the home three-quarters flattened their opponents. The ball went loose with Ed Shell nearly breaking away.

Alnwick were not to be denied – good work from a hard-working set of forwards secured ball out to Ed Shell who made ground before giving the ball on to brother Andy, who ran in at the posts for an easy conversion from O’Grady (20-0).

Alnwick secured good line-out ball, which was driven into the Stockton midfield.

Another penalty to Alnwick saw O’Grady stretch their lead (23-0).

In the opening minutes of the second half, it was Alnwick’s turn to be subjected to a barrage of penalty decisions which saw the Stockton pack batter their way into the Alnwick five-metre area and, after three powerful drives had been held, lock-forward Taylor was driven over under the posts for a try (23-7).

Stockton were awarded a number of penalties and Good landed a penalty following an offence at a ruck (23-10).

Stockton moved the restart ball out to speedy wing Farrell, who was brought down on the five-metre line, winning a penalty when he wasn’t released (23-13).

Both teams exchanged kicks trying to gain ground with both sides giving away penalties. .

And Stockton had another scoring chance when winger Crozier raced away down the touch-line in a threatening move but, with the try-line in sight, he was hauled down by Andy Shell.

Alnwick: A Todd, A Shell, Ed Shell, F Hutchinson, G Potts, N O’Grady, I Gray, B Boothman, H Sordy, P Brown, J Fernback, A Alexander, G Smith, J Kelly, R Ellis, S Bremner, J Burgess.