Alnwick II...24 Percy Park II...23
AFTER last week’s success in winning their league, the Seconds’ latest task for the league and cup double was in the auspicious setting of Kielder Forest.
They were hosted by the county president and stalwart prop of the Border Park side for decades, Tom Richards.
Skipper Gaines was the day’s first casualty, pulling up in the warm-up. He had no hesitation in passing captaincy to David Smith.
Alnwick started brightly and constant pressure saw Percy Park, who were keen to move the ball around, throw a long pass, which Ed Shell grasped out of the air, and the first try was duly executed by Shell. Toby Davidson added the conversion (7-0).
Alnwick were more than a match for Percy Park and although Park tried to get their well-rehearsed patterns of play going, constant tackling and terrier-like pressure by the Alnwick forwards and backs alike, thwarted their attempts.
Eventually, James Cowans accelerated on to a short ball from Wrangham to batter his way over for a great try, and Davidson again nailed the kick (14-0),
An infringement by Park meant that Davidson could add a penalty and the points kept ticking up (17-0).
Alnwick were much the better side in the first half. Duncan Napier, in his last game for the club before joining the Navy, was also a joy to watch. Half-backs Ord and Wrangham controlled the game and fed Snaith and Shell in the centre.
A calm Gaines was a proud man as commitment again saw the side move the ball out again to Shell, who raced in for his second try with Toby Davidson adding the points (24-0).
Percy Park’s only reply was a penalty and at half-time, 24-3 up, things looked good.
After the break, three quick penalties pulled Percy Park back into the game (24-12). And 24-18 came along quickly too.
Although not scoring, Alnwick took the game to Park, with a searing break by Colt Mallaburn, taking him half the length of the field, jinking and dodging. He fed Ord, who was on fire to his left only for the whistle to blow and the pass deemed forward, but again the pressure was on Park.
Davidson had a good break only to be pulled back with Davies and Ord running to each other. A couple of Alnwick penalties narrowly missed the posts. Park’s forwards went on a rumble and a try was the obvious conclusion (24-23).
Park hit the Alnwick line and Smith managed to steal the ball, but as the pressure and penalties amassed, the card was brandished and the skipper’s afternoon was over.
Down to 14 men, on their own line, Snaith was added to the forwards, and in this spell, the cup was won by Alnwick.
A Corinthian effort right to the end saw Alnwick concede a penalty just inside their half, up stepped the Park fly-half but he narrowly missed a decisive penalty.