Ponteland II...5 Alnwick II...42
FOR the first 15 minutes, it was the Toby Davidson show, two tries and faultless kicking display, resulting in the scoreline Lesbury left-footer 14 Ponteland 0.
Air Marshall Gaines, without his veteran, grey-haired centre partner Snaith outside him, instead had youth in the shape of the very impressive Basil Strang, making his first appearance of the season.
Strang’s strong running off the shoulder of line-breaking Gaines was a nightmare for the injury-hit Ponteland back-line.
Gaines helped himself to a brace of tries throughout the game. The forwards, when they pushed in the scrum, were totally dominant.
Ponteland battled hard and never gave up, their number eight and second row both quality acts, with Alnwick forwards lacking in fitness, breathing both fire and alcohol and giving the Ponteland the odd sortie into the Alnwick half.
Armstrong was replaced by Matty Jolly, who was full of energy. This provided a surge from the back row, with the normally hyperactive Andrew Ord rather subdued due to a late night working out at Harehope Farm.
He was joined by Christy Mould and Rob Thompson (who failed to make it as he was still asleep). The late arrival of Chubb Neil, fresh from delivering stock, added to the rising steam from the scrums.
Stu Bremner, like Robbie Williams, will play anywhere and scored a fine try on the wing.
Richard Ord, replacing the chunky Charlie Grahamslaw, at nine, had an impressive game until Grahamslaw had re-gathered his breath and come back onto the pitch for the injured and impressive Davidson.
Stand-out forwards were Andrew Bell, and Joe Hunter, both of whom are still learning the trade. Bell, in fact, was a stalwart at the club in the ’80s until he had a sabbatical from the game to play bowls. He made a long-awaited comeback and is learning the new laws. Hunter, sick to death of the demise of Carlisle FC, has taken up the oval ball and has a bright future.
Strang and Davidson, both will soon get their chances in the first team and if one or two can get their fitness up, the season will be an enjoyable one and the side will get a lot of pleasure out of winning.