DURHAM & NORTHUMBERLAND DIVISION ONE
FOLLOWING a battling first half when the club held a narrow 12-5 advantage through tries from Richard Ellis and Sean Hutchinson, Alnwick gradually increased pressure on Durham visitors Ryton.
First to go over in the second half with a lung-bursting, mazy running try was Peter Moralee to put Alnwick 19-5 in the lead. The final stages saw the club put in three hammer blows to clinch victory when they ran in three tries in the final seven minutes with the Ryton defence crumbling in the face of Alnwick’s play to record a very satisfactory result.
The second half tries were scored by Peter Moralee (two), Richard Ellis and Andrew Shell, James Bird converted three of them.
Using a strong blustery wind, Ryton kicked deep into the Alnwick 22, where their forwards battled hard to breach the Alnwick try-line.
Hard, decisive tackling threw them back.
Alnwick won good turn-over ball, passed out to Will Massey who broke downfield with Sean Hutchinson swinging out wide. His pass out to Andrew Shell was a shade delayed, allowing the Ryton cover time to drive play into touch.
From the line-out, Ryton outside-half Benson kicked deep to take play back to the centre line, where Henry won the line-out for the visitors, only for the Ryton three-quarters to make a hash of their passing.
Alnwick won scrum ball that saw the pack surge through following a pick-up by Richard Ellis. The ball was worked back, another drive was held but on the following drive Richard Ellis battered his way through for a well-deserved try, James Bird adding the goal points (7-0).
Alnwick continued to press forward, Will Massey sent out a pass to Frank Hutchinson whose bustling run was ended by a three-man tackle. The ball went loose for Ushaw to boot it through to the Alnwick 22, where, following a Ryton gain at a scrum, they worked the ball out to the three-quarters, with centre Gabel forcing his way over for an unconverted try (7-5).
Alnwick flanker Duncan Napier, knee injury, was replaced by David Smith.
Ryton continued to press forward only to lose scrum ball on their put-in after the Alnwick front row had taken it against the head.
The ball went out from Peter Moralee to Will Massey onto James Bird to wing Graeme Potts, who raced up to the Ryton 22 line, where the visitors lost the line-out to Olly Sutheran. He linked up with Peter Moralee and Will Massey, whose sharp break broke the Ryton cover with centre Sean Hutchinson going through for an unconverted try (12-5).
The opening half saw Ryton driving through but being unable to break through a well-organised Alnwick defence holding comfortably onto their lead of 12-5.
Early in the second half, Alnwick again stole a Ryton scrum put-in. A chip through pushed Ryton back win to their half where Alnwick flanker Gordon Smith robbed Ryton at a turn-over to drive through. In came the pack but the ball was hacked away by a Ryton defender. Will Massey raced back to secure the ball with the Alnwick forwards arriving. Scum-half Peter Moralee grabbed the ball, broke away on a mazy run to dance his way through befuddled Ryton tacklers, leaving two on the ground as he zig-zagged his way through to finish off with a triumphant drive at the posts.
Alnwick then brought Ian Gray on and Matty Milburn replacing Graeme Potts and Steven Bremner.
Maintaining their battling pressure on Ryton, who were losing too many turn-over balls to Alnwick’s hard-grafting forwards and from one of these, with Ryton inside the Alnwick 22 and pressing hard, Will Massey hammered away a long, raking kick to drive the visitors back 70 metres to have to fight again for the ball at a line-out, this time only five meters from their try-line, a real sickener kick for them.
Alnwick continued to press hard, scrum followed line-out then another scrum. A chip-and-chase saw Alnwick come close to scoring.
Alnwick’s scrummaging was causing problems with Ryton often driven back to present poor ball.
Alnwick won good ball from a turn-over, Ian Gray broke away wide to round the Ryton defence and feed Andrew Shell, whose kick through behind the Ryton try-line was only just touched down by the Ryton full-back Convery.
Alnwick’s pressure at the scrum saw Ryton shunted back with Richard Ellis going over for a unconverted try (24-5).
Alnwick then enjoyed a purple patch finally to hammer the result beyond Ryton’s reach. Quick ball from the three-quarters, out to Andrew Shell whose mazy running had Ryton at sixes and sevens. He made ground into the Ryton 22, an angled cross-kick was taken out at pace by Peter Moralee who finished off his cracking piece of play. The try was not converted (29-5).
From the restart, Andrew Shell broke wide to sweep around a tired Ryton defence to go over for a well-executed try with James Bird adding the conversion points (36-5).
This final try saw Alnwick’s splendid play well-rewarded with three tries in the final seven points to see off the visitors.
Alnwick: J Bird, A Shell, F Hutchinson, S Hutchinson, G Potts, W Massey, P Moralee, Aa Armstrong, H Sordy, S Bremner, D Whitehead, O Sutheran, G Smith, D Napier, R Ellis, M Milburn, D Smith, I Gray.
Saturday’s league match will see the club travel to Darlington who are lying in second place in the league in what promises to be a superb match.