Northern 10-55 Alnwick
County champions Alnwick travelled the short journey down the A1 last Thursday to take on Northern in the first round of this year’s cup and to attempt to retain the Andrew Bell Memorial Trophy.
They were without Gothorp, Phillips and Hamilton but their replacements were to prove very effective.
A beautiful late summer’s evening and a perfect pitch were to suit Alnwick’s style of play and the away team pressed hard from the beginning. However, it took an individual try by Cuthbert, weaving his way from the halfway line to break the deadlock. 0-7.
Pressure was providing Alnwick with kickable penalties but Bird declined to accept. Northern had a chance on 30 minutes when their no. 10 broke down the middle. Captain Moralee was alert to the danger and came off his wing to provide the perfect cover tackle aided by Bird.
At this point, a Northern player became ill and required pitch side assistance necessitating a move to the equally impressive 3rd team pitch.
With play resuming, a high tackle gave Northern a penalty and their first points of the game. 3-7.
However, just before half time a startled Clayton at the back of a line out found himself thrown the ball and he successfully trundled to the line dispensing firm handoffs on the way for an unconverted try bringing the score to 3-12 at the break.
If the Alnwick team hadn’t quite clicked the first half, the second was to prove very different. It began with a well worked try initiated by Law and finished by the unstoppable Bird who put the ball down under the posts ensuring that he did not miss this conversion. 3-19.
Ord, on for Burn at scrum half increased the score with a typical burst through the Northern line before almost immediately going off with an ankle injury. 3-26.
Alnwick backs together with the back row forwards were now hungry for the ball. A kick and chase by Law down the left took the score to 3-31.
Hutchinson, Ellis and Strong were now on the field replacing Davies, Courty and Burn. The display continued when a crosskick was collected by openside Davies on the wing who fed Southeran who passed to Gray to score. 3-36.
Two clinical finishes by Moralee took the score to 3-48. Northern were to get a consolation converted try with a rolling maul which Alnwick will have to work on before the league gets underway. However, Law deservedly brought up his hat trick with the last try of the game.10-55. The score would have been significantly higher had kicks been successful.
Newly promoted Northern found a rampant Alnwick side much too difficult to handle in the second half. The visitors in turn will find their first league game of the season against Morpeth on September 2 at Greensfield, a different proposition. On the same Saturday, Alnwick 2nds will be away to Morpeth and Alnwick 3rds away to Ponteland.