Alnwick 1st team travelled to Morley, south-west of Leeds for their third visit to Yorkshire this season.
Morley have a long history, being founded in 1878 and as recently as the 1990’s, played at a high level, indeed, in what is now National Division One.
More pertinent for Alnwick, they came to the game unbeaten in the league this season.
Alnwick selected Shell and Moralee on the wings with Bird at full back and Cuthbert in at outside centre. Charlie Dunn started at open-side and the front row began with Brown H. Burn and Elliott in the front row.
In perfect conditions, the away team began brightly with a passage of play which included a forcefully break by Gothorp, an impressive turnover by Dunn, an intelligent probing ground kick from Todd and a charge down by skipper Hutchinson which led to a penalty 35m out.
The missed penalty spurred Morley ‘Maroons’ into action and from a lineout 20m out, Richmond, scored from the resultant rolling maul, converted, 7-0 to the home side.
A pleasing sight which Alnwick supporters have sorely missed, saw Bird in his first game of the season, running from deep to cause havoc in the Morley mid field.
However, it was a mistake in the Alnwick mid field which led to Knowles running in an easy try to make it 12-0. Back Alnwick came with a text book kick off from Calum Burn, ably collected by hooker Hamish Burn and fed to Todd who danced through for a converted try. 12-7
The ten minutes leading up to half time was the period when Morley possiby won the game with two very good tries both orchestrated by stand-off Chester and finished by full back Bradshaw. This made kit 26-7 at half time.
A tit-for-tat first fifteen minutes of the second half ended when young Smith was given a red card and Morley took a quick penalty for Hannam to score in the corner. 33-7
How do you stop a confident and very capable side from increasing their lead? Prevent them getting ball. Easier said than done but that is exactly what the magnificent Alnwick forwards did for much of the rest of the game!
Their endeavours enabled Moralee to link up with Ord, on for Shell, and allow the 2nd team captain his first try for the 1st team 33-12. A further solo try by Calum Burn, such an elegant runner with ball in hand, made it 33-17.
The Alnwick forwards now had the bit between their teeth and following an unstoppable rolling maul, Sutheran went over for a converted try and a well-deserved bonus point. 33-24.
The fourteen men of Alnwick had given their hosts a scare. Morley claim that they play with a ‘high tempo and free-flowing movement’ and their and-off and inside centre certainly created chances. However, for Alnwick, so to do Burn and the Danny Care like Todd. The scrum half was awarded man of the match by the opposition.
This was a ‘game of two halves’ withboth Alnwick’s backs and forwards contributing to an entertaining game.
West Hartlepool come to Greensfield this weekend, third in the league and going well. After Saturday’s display, Alnwick can look forward with confidence to this encounter.
There is also a club lunch on the day, contact Bill Thompson 07708186558.