Lions claw back deficit at the top

Photos from the Lions game on Saturday
Photos from the Lions game on Saturday

Gateshead IV...10 Alnwick Lions...19

ALNWICK made the trip to the big city on a fine Saturday afternoon for their top-of-the-table clash with Gateshead.

The home side had sneaked up on them in the league while Alnwick’s games had been called off and they were one point in front leading up to this match.

The Lions knew they were in for a physical battle and so it proved. Gateshead were content to attack through the set-piece and mauling at every opportunity.

Alnwick’s scrum was under pressure, Gateshead attacking with their big runners in the tight. But the Lions defended stoutly with some strong tackles from Hester and Hills.

Alnwick worked the ball forward and, after several phases, the ball found its way onto the right-wing with Telfer sniffing an opportunity to sprint towards the line through two tackles and off-load for the supporting Horsley to score under the posts. Bremner slotted the conversion and Alnwick took a 7-0 lead.

Gateshead came straight back for a very simple try but missed the conversion (7-5).

Half-time arrived with manager McKenna beseeching the Lions to move the ball and the Gateshead pack around the park to tire them.

The half started with Gateshead winning a scrum five metres out and shoving the Lions back for their number eight to score a push-over try. The conversion was missed (7-10).

The ensuing quarter was extremely physical with the home hooker stepping over the line with a cheap shot on Matthewson in a ruck.

The punch went unnoticed by the referee but not by the Lions bench who remonstrated loudly with the referee.

After great work by the Alnwick forwards secured turn-over ball on the halfway line, Bremner released captain Neil with a sublime long pass for the burly skipper to fly up 30 metres with a fantastic burst of pace. Remarkably, it was the skipper’s two front-row mates in support and when the ball was popped to Lundy, he passed to Clayton to run in under the posts.Bremner slotted the conversion (14-10).

The Lions smelt blood and, with a sweeping move, attacked up the right-flank again, with Bremner drawing the tackler and off-loading to Telfer, who was clean through before he fumbled the ball.

Gateshead cleared. From a scrum at halfway Rob Ord hacked the ball up the line. The covering Gateshead full-back dropped the ball for a delighted Ord to see his hard work rewarded with a simple and final score (19-10).

A fine bruising encounter enjoyed by the Lions with skipper Neil having a cracker of a game winning man of the match.