ALNWICK U10s travelled to Tynedale on Sunday to compete in the side’s first sevens rugby competition.
With the only change to the laws being a reduced team of seven players rather than the usual nine, the extra space this provided for the diminutive, but very quick, Alnwick side was welcome.
The team had three group games against the hosts Tynedale, Ryton and unknowns Cockermouth.
First up was Tynedale who clearly fancied their chances, however, some strong defensive work and committed running in attack allowed the Alnwick boys to win 2-0.
Next came Ryton who fielded a large physical team. However, Alnwick found the extra space and recognised the fact that they would have success if they moved the ball around. In keeping with the rules of the competition the game was ended early after Alnwick scored seven unanswered tries.
The final game of the group was against Cockermouth who had won their previous two group games and were also showing strong form having won their own festival the week before.
The Alnwick team got into their stride very quickly with the score 4-0 at half-time. The Cumbrians staged some degree of a fight-back in the second half, but Alnwick’s pace and strong defence won through for a final score of 6-1, which meant they won the group convincingly.
The quarter-finals presented a tougher challenge in the well-drilled Morpeth Magicians. The boys rose to the challenge in a hotly-contested game and progressed, winning 2-0. They were then drawn against Carlisle in the semi-final.
The Lions were determined to make the final and put in a very impressive performance, really playing the expansive game the coaches insisted was the route to success and they eventually ran out 6-0 winners.
The Alnwick side faced a final against the old foes Morpeth Monsters, but, they could take a great deal of confidence from the fact that they had played five games, scored 23 tries and conceded just one to that point in the competition.
Pre-match, the coaches tried to instil further confidence in the boys and insisted that they were able to beat the larger, well-drilled Morpeth team if they played to their own strengths and remained as organised as they had done up to this point in the tournament.
It wasn’t to be. Morpeth started strongly and continued throughout, although some resolute defending and good attacking play kept them on their toes. They ran out eventual winners 5-0.
It was a great introduction to sevens rugby for the Alnwick side and bodes well for the future in that they started to play the sort of rugby they are capable of.
With added confidence and concentration, they can progress from this defeat and come back stronger for the Alnwick festival on April 29.