On a grey day in the North West Alnwick travelled to Kendal’s new ground Mintbridge at the weekend, with high hopes having beaten the same side comprehensively at Greensfield earlier in the season.
Danny Clayton started at prop in place of regular Craig Greer, and in the backs Sean Hutchinson came in for the injured Mallaburn.
Hamish Burn won cousin Callum’s kick off, and after the very first ruck, scrum half Jonny skipped through a gaping hole on the blindside to score only 45 seconds into the game. Second row Bird slotted the kick and Alnwick were off to a flyer!
Continuing this positive play Hamilton went through a hole in midfield with Bird in support, and the advantage should really have been extended, but for an attempted chip through which was gathered and cleared by the Kendal full back Harrop.
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Kendal then came into the game and after a chip through of their own Callum Burn was yellow-carded for tackling a Kendal player without the ball, and the resultant penalty kicked for 3-7.
To Alnwick’s credit, this was the only points they conceded whilst down to 14 men, in the face of much pressure.
Once back to a full complement, Alnwick’s attacking game got going again and winning a penalty they kicked into the corner for a lineout. From not far out the forwards drove over the Kendal line to increase the score to 3-12, the conversion wide from Bird, and the referee’s half time whistle came not long afterwards. Greer came on for Clayton at half time.
The second half became a bit of a scrappy affair with both sides creating opportunities but unable to take them. Alnwick’s back’s were getting some joy in the three quarter channels but often the final pass went astray.
With 20 minutes to go Sutheran entered for Courty, and Kendal were mounting pressure to get back within striking distance.
Kicking a penalty deep into the Alnwick 22 Kendal drove for the line but were held up. After another infringement by the defence, Hamilton was yellow carded, and Kendal set up another maul.
After some strong defence from the visitors a try was given, and converted to make the score 10-12. With Alnwick now down to 14 men the game was in the balance.
To their credit they re-grouped and took control of the pace of the game for the next 10 minutes. This culminated in a try after some good work from both backs & forwards.
After an initial break Cuthbert linked with F. Hutchinson in midfield and made good ground, before the forwards picked and drove over the line from a few metres out. When Burn was initially held up Gothorp drove from the back of an advancing scrum and eventually prop Greer took the opportunity to score at the base of an undefended post. Bird added a simple conversion for 10-19.
Back to fifteen players for the final few minutes, Alnwick presented Kendal with two opportunities to claim a bonus point, but kicker Park was wayward of the posts on both occasions.
The final act was an attempt at a drop goal from Kendal fly half Weightman but this was also unsuccessful and the referee’s whistle brought the end of the game.
Alnwick can be pleased with an away win, taking nine points from ten against a team near them in the league, and a good defensive performance, but there is still more to work on and they are looking up the table rather than down it for the remainder of the season.
* On Saturday Kirkby Lonsdale visit Greensfield, and Alnwick will be looking to avenge a defeat and poor performance away to them earlier in the season.
*Alnwick 2nds won 80-5 at home to Percy Park.
* Alnwick 3rd, the Lions, were also in action at the weekend when they travelled to Tynedale to take on the Centurions. The Lions roared and won the game by a 17-21 scoreline.