A SENSATIONAL end to the season saw the Alnwick U14s win two major competitions in successive weekends, ensuring yet again the boys and coaches could celebrate their efforts this year in real style.
The inaugural Alnwick U14 Rugby 7s Festival, began in a snowy blizzard, but ended in sunshine and celebrations.
Alnwick were drawn in what many felt to be the ‘group of death’, facing old enemies such as Durham, Tynedale and Darlington. However, with some outstanding backs play, Alnwick totally dominated the group.
The knockout phase of the competition saw Alnwick’s play step up in gear, with comprehensive wins against both Berwick (38-7) and Percy Park (26-5).
In the final, they met the other dominating force in the competition, Morpeth, who like Alnwick had reached the final undefeated.
It saw a stellar performance by the Alnwick team, who commanded the pitch from the start, dominating both territory and possession in the early moments.
A strong Morpeth team were simply unable to cope with the intense pressure created by the determined Alnwick line. The level of superiority of Alnwick’s play was reflected in the final score of 42-0.
A great team performance was capped with the presentation of the player-of-the-tournament to Jake Woods, who ran in 16 tries, while making countless tackles.
It was in defending the County Plate title the following Sunday, that Alnwick next met Morpeth, at Druids Park, Newcastle.
Unlike in the 7s Festival, Alnwick had already experienced defeat at the hands of a powerful Morpeth team, whose strong forward line had dominated Alnwick’s much smaller pack.
However, this time, aware of the need to neutralise the Morpeth pack, the Alnwick boys tinkered with the line-up and produced the performance of the season, as they matched Morpeth’s size and strength, with superior tactics, skills and determination and were soon dominating the line.
The scrums led by a new front row of Dan Brown, Chris Hilton and Rob Burnett, and managed by the ever-busy Andy Marshall, soon allowed gaps to appear, which the backs were able to exploit.
An outstanding performance from the backs, with constant endeavour from Fraser Boldy, Jake Woods and newcomer Morgan McCullen, saw Alnwick maintain a constant scoring threat, which was rewarded with five tries of the highest quality.
The final score of 33-19, ensured a successful defence of the trophy.
Team: Richie Forsyth, James Strong, Brett Williams, Jake Woods, Thomas Thompson, Dan Brown, Tom Burnett, Morgan McCullen, Rob Burnett, Thomas Dodds, Archie Dickinson, Duncan Smith, Ronan Mallaburn, Callum ONeil, Andrew Marshall, Evan Moir, Chris Hilton, Dan Straughan, Fraser Boldy, Sam Chrisp, Michael Walton, Hamish Miller, Mathew Dickinson.