Alnwick 44 West 31

By Dave Picken - November 12 2017
Alnwick 44 West 31 Three long range tries in the first 15 minutes and a succession of penalties halfway through the game cost us dear in our battle against relegation .. 

 It began as early as the second minute after a charging run up the left by Liam Checksfield resulted in a penalty for the visitors inside the home 22. We opted for the lineout only to lose the ball at the tail.

When the same thing happened a minute later Alnwick's speedy backs spun the ball out wide where full back Jack Smales raced home from inside his own half. He was involved in a break again two minutes later, after taking a kick on the edge of his own 22 and  finishing off with a 50 metre run to the posts. 

Alnwick centre Rob Cuthbert then threw off several tackles as he burst into the 22 to force his way over -  goalkicker James Bird taking the score to 21-0 with just 15  minutes on the clock. 

We were facing a hiding from a side which had had to reshuffle its pack with regular full back Bird pressed into service at No.8 where he looked more than comfortable. 

Fortunately, we continued to have the better share of territory, stepped up our tackling and got back into the game when a sharp moved in the home 22 saw a floated pass destined to send Will Hildicth in at the corner. 

However, full back Smales got there first with a deliberate knock on. He went to the sin-bin with West players celebrating their first penalty try in a season where there is no requirement to take the conversion. 

With Alnwick down to 14 Ryan Painter tried his luck with a kick and chase down the touchline which almost paid off. However the pressure stayed on and Hilditch did get his try wide on the left as the home defence was stretched. Gavin Painter added the extras and at 21-14 we were giving as good as we got. 

Unfortunately, problems at the breakdown led to a succession of long-range penalties allowing Bird to convert three before the break to allow his side to turn round 30-14 to the good. 

They were awarded by 18 year old Surrey referee Ollie Wickes - a name to remember if he continues this high level of performance.

Gavin Painter added his own long-range penalty after the break only to see Alnwick go for a line-out instead of taking their own shot at the posts. It paid off with flanker Nick Richardson touching down as his pack drove him over. 

Bird's impeccable right boot provided the extras. He was on target again from out wide after Alnwick scored the try of the game.

It began up the right wing through Peter Moralee with a succession of players taking the ball on, offloading in contact and eventually stretching the West defence to allow Burn an easy run in the left hand corner. That proved to be a fitting end to the Alnwick scoring and with 15 minutes left  we set about salvaging some pride..

It was the front row which came up with the goods. First Alex Key peeled off from a maul to go over, and then Andrew Rollins finished off some excellent support play by crashing over between the posts to give us a deserved try bonus point. 

We needed another converted try to add a losing bonus point. It wasn't to be with Alwnick closing the game with a missed penalty from Bird - the only shot at goal missed by either kicker.

We now have a week off before e facing fellow strugglers Dinnington at Brinkburn.  Let's hope more players can make it out to training.

Alnwick: Jack Smales, Peter Moralee, Rob Cuthbert, Ali Gray, Jonny Burn, James Warcup, Simon Ord, Duncan Smith, Harry Sordy, Pete Brown, George Fox, Matty Gray, Gordon Smith, Nick Richardson, James Bird. 
Reps (all used) : John McLaughlin, Ropry Mallaburn, Ben Courty. 
Tries: Smales (2) Burn, Cuthbert, Richardson. 
Cons: Bird (5) 
Penalties: Bird (3) 
Yellow: Smales 
West: Will Hilditch, Liam Checksfield, Peter Youll, Gavin Painter, Adam Peacock, Zac Southern, Ryan Painter,  Andrew Rollins, Jordan Foulds, Alex Key, Jake Linighan, Joe Rafferty, Carl Miller( captain), Scott Butcher, Andy Turner. 
Reps (all used); Adam Brown, Craig Hadwen, Ben Armstrong. 
Tries: Hilditch, Key, Rollins, Penalty  try. 
Cons: G Painter (3) 
Pen: G Painter (1) 
Referee: Ollie Wickes (Surrey) 

Alnwick 44 West 31
Official West Hartlepool RFC (IP Logged)
12/11/2017 11:01
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