ALNWICK 2nds 21
PERCY PARK 19
With the first team not having a match on Saturday, local attention turned to the semi-final of the Northumberland Cup where Alnwick 2nds took on Percy Park in the semi-finals.
After a series of scrums in the early exchanges on a soft pitch, Alnwick were awarded a penalty and took the kick at goal and Mallaburn put them 3-0 up with 15 minutes on the clock.
The blend of experience and youth provided by centres Snaith and Cuthbert was working well, but even with a penalty apiece no real progress was made by either side.
A further two penalties to Park allowed them to set up a 5 metre line-out where Alnwick were caught offside in midfield giving Park’s stand-off an easy kick to make it 3 – 3.
Alnwick’s re-start failed to go the 10 metres and within three minutes Park made it 3 – 8 as some good handling by their backs resulted in an unconverted try in the right hand corner.
Things were not going well for Alnwick as the re-start again failed to go the 10 metres, and whilst they didn’t profit from a penalty, Park were able to increase their lead to 3–11 on 35 minutes from the second of two further penalties, although the half-time score might have been different had Mallaburn’s attempted interception succeeded.
Alnwick started the second half with more energy, pressurising Park into a clearance to their 22.
From Alnwick’s line-out, the ball came out to Snaith who took would-be tacklers with him as he ploughed over the line for an unconverted try to make it 8 – 11.
Although Park’s bustling backs threatened briefly, Alnwick held them at bay. A couple of penalties gave Alnwick a line-out 15 metres out and as the forward drive sucked in the defence, Davies dived round the narrow side to touch down making it 13 – 11 with the conversion missed.
Alnwick were now moving the ball with growing confidence and increased their lead as deft handling by Courty, Cuthbert and Mallaburn combined to put Robson over on the left for 18–11 although the conversion missed.
Park were still in it as a penalty brought them back to 18 – 14, and a further penalty saw them apply pressure through a strong catch-and-drive from a line-out. Alnwick cleared but conceded another penalty which set up a 5 metre line-out followed by a scrum from which an unconverted Park try nudged them into an 18 – 19 lead.
Time was running short for Alnwick but when the referee called play back for a penalty in front of the posts, Mallaburn took extra care before notching the goal for a 21-19 win..
This was a good performance from the Alnwick pack, who now go on to meet local rivals Northern in the final at Alnwick on Sunday, March 27.