Alnwick II...29 Horden II...15
IT was always going to be a tough day at the office, but when the ‘Officiator’ Snaith took a runny nose in the pre-match warm-up, lesser mortals would have caved in, writes Andrew Hodgson.
However, the rallying call from captain Gaines, left nothing to the imagination of those who did not fancy the match. With Ord banished to the wing, the back-row was Davies, Stewart and Napier.
The theory was to move the ball quickly away from the Horden ogres, which meant the backs had speedy possession. Playmaker Mather swept the ball away with all the skill of the local janitor. It gave Gaines and Elliott the space they needed to cause problems for the Horden backs.
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First over the try-line was winger Ord, a flying machine, who dashed through the defence of the hapless Horden backs.
In another spell, Gaines sped through their backs and pointed east. Rory Mallaburn (decidedly quicker than father Garry) saw the extended arm of his skipper, quickly realising it was to get on his horse and gallop to the corner for a well-weighted cross-kick.
A gloating birthday boy Gaines applauded his own brilliance!
Mather was having a good day with the boot too, knocking over the conversion.
Before half-time, another break through the backs, in a crippling 10-minute spell for Horden meant that Gaines himself, got his weekly desserts. With Snaith watching on, the oldest-swinger-in-town award looks like heading for the Gaines trophy cabinet.
The second-half saw Lundy and Cowans being tested by a bigger pack. Dunn was not going to pushed backwards – he floated into the central back position, away from the ruck area, and nimbly danced his way over for a fine try (another birthday celebration would be dealt out later in the evening).
Mather knocked over the conversion.
This was his last appearance as his suspect knee gave way and he had to be lifted from the pitch. Thankfully when the obvious pain subsided, he was OK.
The back-row was superb all afternoon, with the Charles Davies, and Dan Stewart, ably helped by the healthy Duncan Napier, proving to be too quick and fit for Horden, if the breakdown was ours, the game would be too.
This was the last score of the game, but Alnwick deserved their win, players playing as a side, some out of position, but as all good club men do, playing for each other, this is the mind set being instilled by the skipper, and it works.
Young players, Rory Mallaburn, Ant Elliott, Nick Lundy, James Cowan and Hugh Wrangham all proving that those above can eagerly watch over their shoulder, and deservedly so.