Battle lines drawn as rivals face off in cup

Gosforth v Alnwick rugby
Gosforth v Alnwick rugby

In-form Alnwick RFC will do battle against Northumberland rivals Morpeth in the semi-final of the County Senior Cup tomorrow night.

And with Alnwick on home turf for the mouthwatering clash, fans are being urged to pack into the Greensfield ground and be the club’s 16th man.

The last-four tie, which will take place under the floodlights, pits Alnwick against their higher-league county foes.

But Alnwick have got off to a flyer this season, currently topping Durham/Northumberland Division One by seven points.

The blue ‘n’ golds maintained their 100 per cent league record on Saturday with a last-gasp win against Gosforth.

And if they can take this form into tomorrow’s cup clash, they will stand every chance of coming away victorious and booking a place in the final against either Percy Park or Tynedale Raiders.

“We will be taking the game very seriously,” said Alnwick’s coaching coordinator George Robson. “It is a semi-final and a game against our local rivals.”

Alnwick will be looking for a repeat of their 27-19 victory over Morpeth at the end of 2011 in the annual New Year’s fixture.

And while North One East side Morpeth are a league above Alnwick, they will no doubt be expecting a stern test.

Sitting mid-table, Morpeth go into tomorrow’s clash (kick-off 7.30pm) on the back of two league defeats – their last a 42-8 defeat to high-flying Sheffield.

In contrast Alnwick, who are aiming to clinch promotion to North One East this season, are sitting pretty at the top of Durham/Northumberland Division One.

Boasting the division’s best record, Alnwick have won all 10 of their league matches this term – their most recent coming at the weekend with a dramatic 20-22 win at Gosforth.

In what proved to be a good day at the office for the Northumbrians, title-rivals Guisborough lost to third-placed Gateshead by 27 points to 19, giving Alnwick some breathing space at the top. But boy was Alnwick’s victory close – coming thanks to a last-play try from Darren Oliver and a Nathan O’Grady conversion.

A win’s a win though, and keeps Alnwick in the title hunt.