Bonus point victory for Alnwick with home win over Driffield

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Alnwick RFC 28-8 Driffield

Alnwick Rugby Club hosted its’ inaugural Ladies Luncheon on Saturday, which was very well attended and brought a large crowd for the highly anticipated match against East Yorkshire visitors Driffield, sponsored by George F. White.

Driffield started the game well, maintaining possession in the opening minutes but making little ground against an organised Alnwick defence.

From a penalty Alnwick kicked to the corner, Phillips crashed his way over after a dominant catch and drive; a good kick by full back Bird adding the extras (7-0).

When Driffield 9 Gray was yellow carded for a high tackle, another well worked lineout brought a great break from Ord playing against his former club. Now camped in their visitors 22, it was Ord himself who sniped over for an opportunists try from a few metres out, and the reliable Bird dissecting the posts (14-0).

At this point Alnwick’s intensity dropped slightly and Driffield made good ground into their half, winning a penalty which was brought forward 10m after dissent & within range; Lawrence kicked the goal to get the Yorkshiremen on the board (14-3).

A loose Driffield kick over the top brought rampaging full back Bird forward who released Captain Moralee. After a great run he was halted only by a covering tap tackle & unfortunately the ball was lost in the ensuing phase-play with the try line beckoning. As the away side broke from their 22, busy back row Davies, reaching to make a cover tackle, was yellow-carded for catching his opposite man slightly high.

Driffield, back to a full complement, made good use of their man advantage and after a period of sustained pressure finally broke down the home defence for Mewburn to score on the left side after good offloading play. The conversion missed (14-8).

Immediately from the kick off Alnwick almost stretched their lead after good work from the two messrs Burn and supporting forwards, however Driffield scrambled the ball to safety bringing referee Handa’s half time whistle.

Early in the second half Alnwick did not help themselves, giving away a number of penalties which allowed Driffield into their 22. Back row forwards Mewburn, Ramsden and Turner took turns battering the home defence, but all came up fruitless as the ball was turned over enabling Moralee to clear upfield. From the ensuing lineout, Alnwick stole possession and after a few phases Warcup found Cuthbert, who put the raging bullock Young through a gap in the defence. With winger Burn outside him the second row drew the fullback and opted for Hutchinson inside to round off a great team move under the posts; his third in two home games, and Alnwick’s third of the day. Bird maintained his 100% kicking record for the day (21-8).

Alnwick took a fine restart and substitute scrum half J. Burn cleared well, though this good work was undone when Sutheran gave away a penalty for a high tackle in front of the visitors’ bench. The referee’s decision was met with much derision from the vocal home crowd, many of whom were still enjoying their afternoon refreshments, as Driffield kicked deep into the Alnwick 22.

Now a key phase of the game as Alnwick defended resolutely for a sustained period. Driffield had a number of driving mauls, scrums and many phases of tight forward play around the ruck, but in typical style the Blue & Golds held out, eventually forcing the a knock on.

With two minutes left Alnwick drove another successful lineout and were making good headway when play was stopped as props Clayton and Blenkinsop got to know each other a little more closely. They were both yellow carded and scrums became uncontested.

Alnwick immediately spliced through the tired Driffield defence in search of the bonus point, and when the ball got to Callum Burn with brother Jonny outside a fourth try looked inevitable, however poor hands saw the move breakdown.

Driffield took the lineout and in attempting to break downfield lost the ball forwards, giving Alnwick one final chance. With forwards in midfield second row Sutheran threw a long pass out to Moralee who combined with Bird, allowing tireless hooker Hamish Burn to take the final pass and score under the posts for a deserved bonus point to the delight of the Greensfield faithful.

A great day was had by all and following the game, regular Alnwick player Peter Robinson completed an endurance row against employees of sponsor George F. White, raising further funds and awareness of the Four Oarsmen, who will complete the mammoth task of rowing the Atlantic Ocean unaccompanied at the end of 2017.

Also after the game, Alnwick U13 girls competed against Whitley Bay Rockcliff.

The 1st XV are away to Cleckheaton on Saturday with the 2nd and 3rd teams playing Gateshead.

Alnwick: Smith, Burn, Phillips, Young, Sutheran, Gray. Davies, Courty, Ord, Warcup, Moralee, Hutchinson, Cuthbert, Burn, Bird. Subs: Clayton, Smith, Burn.