Single try victory for Alnwick over Blaydon

ALNWICK RFC 7BLAYDON 0Prior to the start of this, the first home game of 2020, as a strong wind buffeted the club flag flying at half-mast above the club house, both teams and their supporters respectfully observed a minute’s silence to mark the death of Terry Owen-Smith on Boxing Day last year.

Tuesday, 14th January 2020, 11:08 am
Action from Saturday's game. Picture by Steve Miller.

Terry, better known as ‘Tos’ to his many acquaintances, was a long-standing member and a loyal, multi-faceted servant of Alnwick Rugby Club as well as being a prominent figure in the wider spheres of the game.

A difficult first half of the season has left Alnwick struggling for points with the relegation trapdoor uncomfortably close, but the closeness of some games suggests that they deserve better than their lowly league position. Although Greensfield may not be the fortress of recent seasons, Alnwick have created a formidable squad and no side should underestimate their quality as Blaydon’s high-rollers found to their cost.

In a strong wind the opening phases very much set the pattern for the whole of the first half. Any adventurous attempts by the both sets of backs met with little success in the face of solid defences, particularly from Alnwick whose line-speed and consistently uncompromising tackling kept Blaydon’s attackers honest.

Blaydon missed a scoring chance just before half-time, when Alnwick were reduced to 14 men through a yellow card for a deliberate knock-on, but the option of a penalty scrum close to Alnwick’s line proved unsuccessful and the half ended scoreless.

In the second half, as Alnwick began to gain superiority up front, a forward drive from a line-out on Blaydon’s 22 shunted them almost to the line before a knock-on offered the visitors an escape route. A powerful Alnwick drive at the 5 metre scrum stole Blaydon’s ball and their hard-grafting No. 8 Gothorp drove in low and hard to score with Callum Burn adding further reward for his team’s efforts by slotting the conversion for 7-0.

From then on, Alnwick were in charge, keeping Blaydon pegged back with only rare excursions from their own half.

This Saturday is derby day and Alnwick make the trip to Morpeth for what is sure to be an entertaining game. The teams are only separated by two points in the table.