West 29 Alnwick 19

By El Pedro - February 14 2016
West 29 Alnwick 19 Despite some wet conditions we scored five tries in this impressive victory over Alnwick, dealing the Northumbrians a blow in our battle for third place in North One East.

Alnwick still have a game in hand but our maximum five point haul gives us a much needed boost in the race to be best-of-the-rest behind runaway leaders Doncaster Phoenix and Morley. With three tries scored the visitors were hunting a fourth in the dying minutes which would have brought them 2 bonus points. In the end they settled for a kick at goal for a single point, only to see it sail wide. That period of play could prove crucial in the final run in.

The game was an entertaining one, with Alnwick’s back three looking threatening and our forwards turning in an excellent performance to have the edge over the opposition eight. Our kicking game in the first half was astute, denying the dangerous visiting runners the chance to counter-attack but as things got loose in the second half we saw the threat they could pose with several jinking runs from full-back and wings.

Zac Southern had the first chance to score with a shot at goal from 40 metres which drifted wide but our dominance of the opening quarter was rewarded with a try from John Bunter – the second row emerging from the bottom of a strong rolling maul to give us a 5-0 lead.

Sam Miller try 2

If we needed reminding of the threat Alnwick posed, we got a glimpse of the visiting backs’ pace as they levelled the score with 24 minutes played. The ball was moved along the line to left wing Peter Moralee and he found himself in some space with the covering defence drifting across. He turned on the speed and nobody could get a finger on him as he scored in the corner.

The work-rate of our forwards was giving us the upper hand and Sam Miller capped off a real forward’s try with 5 minutes left in the half. After several surges for the line the number eight popped up on the short side and simply powered through a tackle to score and reward his pack for a sterling effort. Southern’s conversion just missed to leave the half-time score 10-5.

Alnwick outside-half Callum Burn saw yellow early in the second half after a late shoulder charge on opposite number Southern and while he was off the field we extended our lead even further. Once again it was Miller with another powerful bust from short range, touching down by the left corner flag.

The pick of our tries was the bonus-point clinching fourth with Miller again starting the move with a terrific run inside our own half. His offload to Joe Willis kept the move going and Ryan Painter was in support to take an inside pass from Willis and race to the line, Southern converting.

Alnwick kept their hopes alive with a super try from Andrew Shell on 65 minutes. He fielded a kick and found his way through a crowd of bodies before rounding replacement full-back Connor Fewster to score under the posts.

Joe Willis tryPix by Kathryn Waites

At 22-12 the game was back in the balance with Alnwick looking increasingly dangerous and their pack was held up over the line before another sweeping move saw the ball juggled and dropped yards short of the waiting try-line. It would prove crucial as moments later a long clearance was chased down by Willis and when the covering defender failed to collect he gratefully hacked on and won the race to the line.

With time running out Frank Hutchinson finished off another good move with a try for Alnwick, Bird again converting, giving the visitors hope for a final flourish and that double bonus point. Given the penalty chance with the last play of the game the decision was to take the shot for the single point rather than chance scoring a try. The way the backs had been threatening it seemed an odd call with the kick hardly guaranteed and so it proved, the effort missing wide to the right.

Next week’s trip to Doncaster looks like a tough one but if we put in another forward display like this it will be a difficult afternoon for the league leaders.


West: Luke Mallinson, Scott Butcher, Greg Edwards, Peter Youll, Joe Willis, Zac Southern, Ryan Painter, Michael Hogan, Andrew Rollins, Adam Coates, Owen Bennett, John Bunter, Chris Atkins, Dan Boatman (captain), Sam Miller.
Changes: Jack Angus, Liam Bailey, Connor Fewster.

Tries: Bunter, Miller 2, Painter, Willis
Cons: Southern 2

Alnwick: James Bird, Andrew Shell, Will Smith, Frank Hutchinson, Peter Moralee, Callum Burn, Ian Gray, Peter Brown, Duncan Smith, Richard Elliot, Josh Burgess, Matty Grey, Gordon Smith, James Hamilton, Richard Ellis.

Tries: Moralee, Shell, Hutchinson
Cons: Bird 2
YC: Burn

West 29 Alnwick 19
Official West Hartlepool RFC (IP Logged)
14/02/2016 10:33
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Re: West 29 Alnwick 19
Denny Dixon (IP Logged)
14/02/2016 18:34
It will be a hell of job next week but no one will expect us to get anything out of the trip. Remember however we have a win and bonus point losses to Morley and Alnwick so we have that as an additional incentive and we can do it. Of course we will have to be at our best play with an even increased intensity and pride. With that and 100% commitment and concentration from first whistle to the last we can achieve what may seem the impossible!!

Re: West 29 Alnwick 19
15/02/2016 10:14
Really good effort from both of our sides on saturday. Some understandable rumblings about why young Willis wasn't playing for the Colts as their game was arguably more important.

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