NOVOS IIs 12
ALNWICK IIs 36
With the 1st XVs playing in different leagues, it was down to Alnwick 2nds to maintain the links with one of the county’s oldest clubs, Novocastrians.
They travelled to Longbenton on a bitterly cold and wet Saturday afternoon and kicked off playing into driving sleet in the shadow of the ‘Ministry’ buildings.
If the backs had thoughts of the conditions producing ‘9 man rugby’ with play confined to the forwards, they were in for a pleasant surprise. The solid Alnwick scrum with the ball well controlled at the base by Davies, allowed the half back pairing of Todd and Robson to move the ball quickly to the centre partnership of Foy and Snaith who in turn fed three quarters Burnett and Ridley and full back Annett.
With everyone involved, the tries soon began to flow. Snaith bagged the first, powering over from 10m out. Then after some strong running by Ridley, Todd released Robson to score the second.
Courty got the third with a strong run from 20m out. (0-19) Alnwick were making light of the conditions and Burnett was able to release Foy for their fourth try.
The forwards were playing their part in the rout with 2nd rows Stephenson and Dunn regularly punching holes in the Novo’s defence. Good handling by the backs yet again, allowed Foy to supply Ridley who used his not inconsiderable bulk to fall over the try line. The first half ended with Maughan chasing his own kick up field and forcing a Novo knock on. From the ensuing scrum,
Courty’s jinking run resulted in his second try and a half time lead of 36pts to 0.
The front row of Milburn, Isaacs and Neil had proved immovable and had allowed the back row to cause all sorts of problems.
Manager George Stoker’s half time words of wisdom and his tactical use of replacements led to Alnwick failing to score at all in the second half!
Snaith and Milburn made way for Grey and Service but it was Novos who were to run in two tries. Lengthy injury stoppages and worsening conditions persuaded referee Parlett that hyperthermia should be best avoided. Hot showers, refreshment and the international on television beckoned.