Alnwick RFC 38-3 Bradford & Bingley
Bottom of the league Bradford and Bingley were visitors to Greensfield last Saturday in a curate’s egg of a game, mundane in places, positively brilliant in others.
The game, kindly sponsored by M G Courty, saw Philips return in the front row to partner Hamish Burn and Smith. Bird returned to full back.
The visitors had a number of youngsters playing compared with last season and they were soon up against it with Alnwick attacking up both wings.
The home side took the lead after five minutes when Cuthbert fed Mallaburn who set up Warcup to break through the centres to then release Courty for the first of five very classy tries. 7-0. Sadly, it was to be Mallaburn’s last contribution to the game as he went off with hamstring problems to be replaced by Callum Burn
The visitors replied with their only points of the afternoon when Alnwick conceded a penalty for off-side. 7-3.
The game became a little scrappy at this stage with sloppy handling by both teams although Alnwick’s man of the match second row Young was enjoying demonstrating both his ball carrying skills and tackling. A Bird break backed up by Cuthbert touching down for a converted try broke the deadlock. 14-3.
After half time Alnwick furthered their lead when, after yet another break by Cuthbert, Courty touched down for a second.21-3.
Alnwick now had Callum Burn at fullback and Jonny Burn on the wing and with such a wealth of talent in the backs coaches Bell and Hamilton felt that the time was right to try Bird in the back row. Whether or not the experiment was a success was debated hotly in the clubhouse post match.
Certainly the home side were definitely on top by now and after yet another precise kick by standoff Warcup they went further ahead went Jonny Burn glided past two Yorkshire defenders for a bonus point unconverted try. 26-3.
The visitors barely laid a hand on Cuthbert all afternoon and on 65 minutes he obligingly handed ex-captain Hutchinson the chance to make the score 31-3.
Bradford and Bingley were tiring with only inside centre Morton troubling the Alnwick defence when perhaps the best try of the game brought the scoring to an a end. A forceful move up the right involving most of the forwards sucked in their opponents before the ball was moved swiftly left where the Yorkshire cover overcommitted allowing Hutchinson to cut back under the posts.
Final score 38-3 with the home crowd having seen some entertaining rugby. Alnwick 1st 15 have a long journey to Bridlington on Saturday, the 2nd 15 and colts at home to Billingham.
Blaydon 2nds 34
Alnwick 2nds 5
Alnwick, due to anavailability, found themselves short on numbers, and they wereonly able to field 13 players, having to ask their opponents for a helping hand to make up a full compliment.
Blaydon were always in the ascendency and already had the game well won before Alnwick scored the final try of the game.
Whilst it is difficult to highlight anyones performance above others, Andrew Ord did stand out, playing at scrum half, he also on a few occassions jumped at two in the line out, securing ball each time.
Alnwick 3rd 0
Morpeth Edwardians 24
Alnwick 3rds got their season off to a start against Morpeth Edwardians at Geensfield on a blustery and often wet afternoon on a lush green second team pitch under the inspirational leadership of Aaron Armstrong.
Alnwick kicked off and saw the ball go directly to touch. Early pressure and some intelligent open play saw the home side camped firmly in the visitors’ 22m for the first 15 minutes without producing points.
Morpeth overcame the early pressure and with two evenly matched packs produced some blind side and open side breaks to push the visitors back into contention.
Some solid tackles from Currie failed to stop the visiting pack going over for the first try which was unconverted. Morpeth were now growing in confidence resulting in a driving maul going over for their second try, this time converted.
Following a number of solid breaks from the back row, Scott Ramage went off with a knee injury. Further Morpeth pressure led to a 5m scrum which the home side won against the head. Unfortunately, a poor clearance kick saw the visitors’ three-quarters run in their third try unopposed. The conversion kick missed the target.
The second half saw Ramage back on the field and with some intelligent play from Titch Ord at number 10, Alnwick looked a much more confident unit. With some good open play from both sides the second half action went from end to end, finally, seeing Morpeth win a line-out on the home side 5m line. This resulted in a try which was converted giving the visitors a final tally of 24 points.
A good performance from Alnwick’s blend of new young faces and older stalwarts against an experienced Morpeth side bodes well for the season ahead