DURHAM & NORTHUMBERLAND DIVISION ONE
ALNWICK totally destroyed Sunderland, enjoying a 10-try romp at Greensfield.
They roared into a 26-7 lead in the first half, then the floodgates opened in the second. In a purple patch of open rugby, they ran in a feast of tries, scoring 42 points in a 20-minute burst that left their visitors in total disarray.
Crisp handling by the three-quarters who fed hungrily on the plentiful supply of ball from the forwards resulted in an explosion of open rugby that saw Andrew Shell (three), Will Massey (two), Gordon Smith (two), Rich Ellis (one), Peter Moralee (one) and Ian Gray (one) running in the tries with James Bird having a field day, goaling nine out of the 10 tries.
Sunderland replied with a solitary converted try.
The visitors drove quickly from the start, but lost the ball at a ruck from where Alnwick moved the ball out to Gray, whose mazy run saw him sweep through to land the opening try (5-0).
Sunderland relied on booting the ball for their pack to follow up into the Alnwick 22 area.
They won a valuable line-out after the ball was overthrown by Alnwick and directly to flanker Wordsworth, who powered his way deep into the Alnwick 22.
The visitors then won good scrum ball only for outside-half Dobson to throw away a potential three-man overlap when he kicked the ball dead.
Both sides then exchanged penalty line-outs before Sean Hutchinson broke away and through the Sunderland cover to link up with the home three-quarters in a cracking move rounded off when winger Graeme Potts powered through for a try at the corner, James Bird converting with a splendid kick (12-0).
Sunderland stormed back, gaining ground from a penalty line-out inside the Alnwick 22, with their forwards putting in a sterling effort to force flanker Wordsworth over for a try converted by Frances (12-7).
Sunderland threw everything at the Alnwick defence A two-man overlap saw winger Abraham race for the try-line only to be hammered into touch just short of the flag.
Alnwick made Sunderland pay for a missed penalty when they won the restart ball and worked it upfield where Sean Hutchinson slipped past his opponents to put Andy Shell away on a mazy run to go over for a converted try under the posts (19-7).
Winning the restart ball, Alnwick won a maul and found Shell, who ran through for a converted try following a 60 metre sweeping run that left three Sunderland players left for dead as they attempted to tackle Alnwick’s winger (26-7).
In the second half, Alnwick took time to re-establish their superiority. Some casual work at a line-out saw Sunderland number eight Watts and flanker Mackie break away, only for the visitors’ centres to knock the ball forward.
A long kick through by Massey drove Sunderland into their 22 area.
Alnwick’s back row of Ellis, Smith and Blakey linked up with the backs, the ball being brought back inside with Smith breaking through for a converted try (33-7).
Alnwick went further ahead when they won scrum ball following a Sunderland knock-on at the restart. Massey shot through on a 50 metre run to outpace a labouring Sunderland defence, again Bird added the goal points (40-7).
Ellis charged through from the restart and passed to Shell who made his way through a flat-footed defence for a converted try (47-7).
Another try came from the restart.
Josh Burgess drove through and out went the ball to Massey, who outpaced a shattered bunch of Sunderland players for the converted try (54-7).
Alnwick brought on Ed Shell replacing Gray in the centre and still the tries kept coming. A poor clearance by Sunderland full-back Littlewood was knocked back upfield by Bird to Shell who made ground in the Sunderland 22 where Ellis rounded off the play with a converted try (61-7).
This was a truly purple patch of open rugby.
In nine minutes, Alnwick went from 26-7 to 61-7 to crush a by-now dispirited Sunderland team, who did not have any answers to Alnwick’s fast-moving, open play.
But a further try was soon on the cards following an Ed Shell and Graeme Potts burst upfield, where Alnwick’s power play saw Smith drive through for his second try, again goal points being added by Bird, who finished up with a satisfying nine goals, 18 points and the man-of-the-match award.
A cracking performance from forwards and backs, who showed the end result from solid pack pressure leading to quick ball out to the three-quarters.
The club thanked their match sponsor for the game, Glendale Engineering.
Saturday’s league match is at Medicals, kick-off 3pm.