At this time of year, the postponement of sporting fixtures due to mild weather and rain is something of a change from the usual culprits of snow and frozen pitches.
Rugby is fairly resilient when it comes to weather conditions but the relentless downpours leading up to last Saturday’s fixtures proved to be more than a match for pitch drainage in some areas resulting in the postponement of several matches, including Alnwick’s visit to Percy Park.
With the Boxing Day friendly match against Berwick having also been rained off, Alnwick’s first team members are on an extended Christmas break since their convincing 50 – 0 home win against Wheatley Hills on December 19, so now might be an appropriate time to cast a quick glance over their season so far and take sneaky peek at what’s on the immediate horizon.
With 15 of the season’s 28 fixtures completed, Alnwick are currently lying a solid fourth in the league with 45 points, having won nine games and lost six, with 342 points for and 187 against.
Although there no easy matches in this league and form is sometimes unpredictable, there are plenty of points to play for so Alnwick should be safe from any end-of-season relegation dog-fight, if the estimated safety mark of 50 points is anywherenear correct.
Alnwick had something of a stuttering start to the season and after winning two warm-up games against Berwick and Penrith, narrowly lost to Percy Park 20 – 26 in the Northumberland Cup which was probably no bad thing in the context of being able to focus on the league games .
The first league game at home to Doncaster Phoenix ended in defeat by 20 – 29 , largely through respecting the visitors more than they deserved, but a run of three victories against Wheatley Hills, 14 – 24, Percy Park, 33 – 15, and Beverley, 7 – 45 got things moving in the right direction.
A narrow home defeat to Guisborough 15 – 18 in a match they might well have won was a minor setback but at highly rated Morley, the second half of the 33 – 24 defeat in which they scored four tries was something of an achievement.
Two close-fought home wins against local rivals West Hartlepool 19 – 13 and Morpeth 17 – 8, were followed by a narrow and somewhat contentious defeat 25 – 22 away at Pocklington but although a comfortable 29 – 5 home win against Dinnington restored the balance, they made hard work of a scratchy win 23 – 12 at Westoe before narrowly losing
3 – 8 at home to Northern in a wind affected affair they really ought to have won.
A 0 – 18 win a in dire conditions at Driffield was a tribute to the continuing determination and organisation of this Alnwick side and a comfortable 50 – 0 home win to complete the double against Wheatley Hills was an appropriate Christmas cracker.
Four of the impending away matches are against near neighbours, Percy Park, West Hartlepool, Morpeth and Northern and are interspersed with games at Guisborough,
Dinnington and Doncaster and home games against Beverley, Morley, Pocklington, Westoe and Driffield.
If Alnwick maintain their positive approach in the coming months there are plenty of opportunities for them to secure their league status, none better perhaps than in the next match, home against Beverley this Saturday 16th January Kick Off 2.15pm.
If any newcomers or visitors to Alnwick have yet to visit this friendliest of rugby clubs, why not come along? A warm welcome guaranteed , not to mention some cracking rugby.!