Alnwick Rugby Club’s North One East survival fight will go to the wire after they slipped to a narrow 18-17 defeat to lowly Morpeth.
The Greensfield side now face a massive final game of the season next Saturday when they host relegation-threatened Middlesbrough, who were sucked into the dropzone after a 19-19 draw with Cleckheaton.
Today’s results mean that Alnwick are still above the relegation line and four points ahead of the Teessiders.
Safety is also very much in their hands and even if they are defeated by the boys from Boro next week, it doesn’t necessarily mean Alnwick will be relegated, with factors such as bonus points and other results coming into play.
As for Morpeth, their survival dream is also hanging by a thread, despite beating Alnwick. Sheffield’s 43-23 win over Rochdale lifted the victors out of the relegation zone and meant that while it is still mathematically possible for the Northumbrians to avoid the drop, they face an uphill task to do so.
But today’s victory over Alnwick, which also saw them claim the Brett Horse Trophy, will give them confidence.
Tries from Joe Forsythe and Callum Duncan, as well as a conversion and penalty from James Phillips, plus a further penalty from Ben Hornby gave Morpeth the much-needed win.
For Alnwick, Andrew Shell and Frank Hutchinson touched-down, while James Bird added the extra points with the boot.
Defeat will taste sour for Alnwick, who knew that a win today would have guaranteed their North One East status.
But they will now have to wait another week to make sure of that.
See full match report in Thursday’s Northumberland Gazette