Alex Robson burst through with minutes to go and the Sandal line beckoning, a bonus point at least the reward and possibly a win if another attack could be mounted.
The whistle halted his run and referee Henry’s apology for not playing advantage was small compensation for the outside centre who had put in a tremendous shift all afternoon.
Alnwick travelled to Wakefield with a number of enforced changes. Atkinson began at fullback, Weddle and Holmes on the wings with Davies, Todd and Cowan as replacements. With Greer on Polish international duty, the front row of Smith, H Burn and Clayton were to give a good account of themselves.
The game began with Alnwick forced to kick up field twice to relieve pressure and thankful for a Sandal decision to kick through when the ball in hand would have been more threatening.
A good passage of play by the visitors ended abruptly when Sandal stand off Wood broke through for a self-converted try for 7-0 after 20 minutes. Sandal were constantly threatening Alnwick’s left flank, their full back Townend coming menacingly into the line.
However, the Greensfield team are ever alert to a quick penalty with captain Moralee at scrum half and after a tip tackle the ball was moved swiftly to the right where Sandal were forced to defend with a deliberate knock on. The referee had no hesitation in awarding a penalty try with a second yellow card for the Yorkshiremen after the first had been awarded for inappropriately addressing the ‘man in the middle’. 7-7
A Sandal penalty for an Alnwick off side took the score to 10-7 with the visitors competing well at this stage, their work at the breakdown of particular note. Although the home side finished the half with two threatening half breaks, the interval came with the score remaining the same.
A skilful kick by C Burn to begin the second half was nicely collected by Sutheran and this led to a period of sustained Alnwick pressure, the line speed of Sandal seemingly denying them the ability to put anything meaningful together.
Never-the-less, the visitors nearly took the lead when Holmes crossed the line but was unable to ground the ball to the official’s satisfaction.
No such doubt when Sandal replied with again an attack up their left. J Burn had been penalised with a yellow card for coming into a ruck from the side when it appeared that he had legitimately fought his way through the middle. The home side’s converted try took the score to 17-7.
Todd and Davies came on as Alnwick attempted, unsuccessfully, to convert their constant pressure and hard work into points. Sandal weathered the storm and came away with four points .
The visitors certainly deserved at least a losing bonus point. The Yorkshire crowd had perhaps been a little disappointed in their team’s performance but credit to Alnwick for thwarting their efforts, playing positively, creating chances and putting up a good show particularly with the enforced changes to the team.
Alnwick: Atkinson, Weddle Robson, C Burns, Holmes, Moralee, Smith, H Burn, Clayton, Young, Sutheran, Bird, Courty, Gothorp, Davies, Todd, Cowan.
The next game is on Saturday at home to Billingham KO 3pm.