Alnwick 2nds 53 to Tynedale Centurions 0

The traffic conditions saw Tynedale players arriving in dribs and drabs even after the delayed kick-off time, not the ideal preparation for a tough fixture against a team who had beaten the Raiders a few weeks earlier.

The experienced home team were fully warmed up and started quickly as the under-prepared visitors tried to organise. There were try-saving tackles by Martyn Hutton, Jake Sloan and Josh Turnbull but, quick re-cycling and slick handling saw the home side dominate territorially.

A penalty kick to the corner was caught and driven over, a kick ahead was returned with interest and cleverly finished in the right-hand corner before the left-winger touched down out wide, all in the first 15 minutes.

In this period Tynedale lost the influential Jonny Pape and Ryan Laverty to injury and this necessitated further reshuffling of the side.

To their great credit the Centurions, prompted by outstanding scrum-half Sam Harrison, managed to get involved in the game. Rory Dixon, Oliver Hillary and Rhys Loughead made powerful forays into the Alnwick twenty-two but these were well defended.

The home side was ever alert on the counter and their exceptional handling skills saw two further tries scored out wide before half-time for a lead of 31-0.

The interval allowed the visitors to gather their thoughts and commence the second half with real purpose and, for twenty minutes, they were the most likely to score.

Right-wing Dan Heppell ran from deep inside his own half, only for the covering full-back to bring him down 5 metres short. This led to a spell of pressure as the forwards camped on the Alnwick line.

Brogan Miller, Callum Foxcroft, Oliver Shrimpton and Ian Charlton all drove close, Loughead and Hillary were held on the line and the try that their efforts deserved was tantalisingly close.

Alnwick managed to weather this storm and was able to break clear for a further well-worked try. This score and the enormous effort put in by all players in this period left the Centurions weary, physically hurt and disappointed. Eventually, the fire was quenched and the home side began to regain control.

Had it not been for the hard-working Dickie Hall making some big hits in midfield, excellent covering by Joe Matthews and Lewis Duffy, and some relieving kicks by Andy Purves, the scoreline might have been even more one-sided.

As it was, Alnwick landed three late tries for a convincing win that didn't reflect the huge efforts put in by the whole Tynedale team.