Percy Park 21-16 Alnwick RFC
Alnwick failed to complete a league and cup double when they went down narrowly to Percy Park in the final of the Northumberland Senior Cup at Ashington on Tuesday.
Alnwick were the holders of the trophy, and following their success in winning the North East One League the previous week, they went into the match as favourites.
But Percy, 21-times winners of the competition and victors in 2011, 2012 and 2013, were not for lying down, and they upset the odds with a 21-16 victory.
The game was close throughout, and at 16-16 it was anyone’s guess as to who would go on and lift the trophy, but a late try from Ross Young saw Percy emerge triumphant and lift their first Senior Cup in five years.
Alnwick kicked off and they were awarded an early penalty, but Bird missed the kick and it wasn’t until the sixth minute that the deadlock was broken when, after a good build-up of play, Seb Reece went over for a score. Groves missed the conversion but Percy were 5-0 in front.
They continued to apply pressure in the Alnwick 22 and some quick hands culminated in fly half Richard Chadwick going over for his side’s second, but again Groves missed with the conversion attempt as the scoreboard ticked over to 10-0.
Alnwick rallied, and they responded with a try of their own from Calum Burn, making it 10-5.
Bird then picked up at the base of a scrum, enabling Warcup to to set off on a 50m run.
A penalty was awarded by referee Dave Charlton and Bird found his mark from 35 yards out to reduce the deficit further to 10-8 after 23 minutes.
Both sides enjoyed some possession as the half wore on, but neither could find a breakthrough and at half-time Percy held a five point advantage at 13-8, Groves having kicked a penalty.
Early in thge second half Alnwick got themselves back on level terms when captain Peter Moralee floated a pass to Burn on thre wing, who burst over for 13-13.
The conversion was missed but Alnwick were back in contention.
Alnwick then took the lead for the first time in the match when Bird kicked a penalty for 13-16.
But back came Percy with Groves kicking another penalty for 16-all.
Play then became nervous as both sides realised another score could win it.
But with 13 minutes remaining it was Percy, after several minutes of sustained pressure, who made the breakthrough when Young got the vitakl touchdown. The conversion attempt fell short, but Percy were back in front and they managed to hang on for the victory.