Alnwick heads held high despite defeat to league leaders Hull
Hull RFC 29-13 Alnwick RFC
Alnwick undertook a long four hour coach journey to Hull last Saturday to face top of the league Hull RUFC who had been beaten only once on the opening game of the season and then only by a point.
The travelling Alnwick faithful were looking forward to an exciting, if testing, game. They were not to be disappointed.
The visitors were without prop Philips and ex Alnwick captain Ben Boothman, now playing tight head for Hull, took full advantage of his absence. He was to do no favours for his old team mates giving front row pair H Burn and Smith plenty to handle all afternoon.
The game began with terrific open play by both sides in a breath-taking first fifteen minutes although it was mainly in the visitors half of the field, a feature of the afternoon.
An untidy Alnwick lineout led to Hull securing the ball then moving it out for outside centre Heard to score a converted try. 7-0.
Both sides then indulged in the rugby league tactic of ‘up an’ under’ which would have been better suited to the international between England and New Zealand taking place at the KCOM stadium less than a mile away. Atkinson was fielding the ball with great confidence but the home side eventually caught Alnwick off-side and increased their score with the resulting penalty. 10-0.
Ord, for Alnwick, left the field with a shoulder injury to be replaced by J Burn at scrum half.
Good interplay between Atkinson and Cuthbert resulted in Alnwick being awarded a difficult penalty which C Burn slotted over. 10-3.
Hull, in the last seven minutes of the first half were relentless in attack, determined to add to the score before half time. However, the Alnwick defence held out and referee Hurdley blew the whistle for a well-deserved break by both sides.
The second half began with Bird on at full back, Moralee at scrum half and J Burn back on the wing.
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The home side began quickly to increase their momentum with a very effective scrum realising ball to fast and powerful backs causing the visitors problems.
The front row experience of Boothman, Jobling and Dias, however, provided the key to unlocking the Magnificent Alnwick defence. Smith was yellow carded, Clayton took his position but it wasn’t long before the referee awarded Hull a penalty try for which Alnwick would have few complaints. 17-3.
From the kick-off Moralee scored a typical break-away try 17-8 and Alnwick can always be relied upon to be strong in the final quarter of any game.
On this day, they had their work cut out attempting to halt a Hull side who recycled the ball effectively and constantly threatened to break through. This they did with wing Naylor going over for an unconverted try 22-8, followed a few minutes later by second row Hamber crashing through to secure the bonus point. 29-8.
The visitors thoroughly deserved a late try when Courty finished off a well-supported team effort down the right. 29-13, final score.
It was good to see Alnwick leave the field with heads held high. They had given the league leaders, playing at home, a hard game.
They gave a good account of themselves, beaten by a well-balanced side of competent forwards and pacey, powerful backs.
Hull supporters were effusive in their praise for the visitors defence and indeed of their all-round play. A spirited performance by Alnwick which bodes well for their coming home game against Lymm next Saturday.
This is a ‘Lunch’ game, names to Michelle 602342, with an earlier kick off of 2-15pm
Alnwick: Moralee, Atkinson, Cuthbet, Mallaburn, J Burn, C Burn, Ord, Smith H Burn, Greer-BachurZewski, Grey, young, Courty, Hamilton, Gothorp. Clayton, Bird, Woods.