It was always going to be a tough ask for Tynedale Raiders to repeat their fine performance in their previous outing, when they defeated Harrogate Georgians 26-5.

They travelled to Alnwick with a weakened squad, with only two of their regular backline available, but they still managed to battle their way to an 18-11 victory.

Alnwick are known as a combative side and difficult to break down, especially on their own patch. The early exchanges proved that Tynedale were in a real contest, as a series of attacks were soundly repelled by the hard-hitting Alnwick defence.

On their first real flurry into the Tynedale half, Alnwick were rewarded with a penalty which they duly converted to lead 3-10 after 10 minutes played.

The game then became scrappy. Multiple knock-ons and errors from both teams meant that neither side was able to mount a meaningful attack.

However, on 28 minutes, Alnwick conceded a ruck penalty and Josh Bate made no mistake from the tee to level things up. Almost immediately from the kick off, the Raiders found themselves deep in their own territory and the referee brandished a yellow card for a ruck infringement and more close driving saw Alnwick score a try.

The rest of the half remained all Alnwick, and a further penalty on 38 minutes took them into half time with a lead of 11-3.

Having received some hairdryer treatment at half time, the Raiders came out a different side in the second period. An early series of good interlink play led to an advantage being played and Bate put in a super cross-field kick that full-back Tom Robson was able to dot down wide out.

The Raiders now had their tails up and another excellent touch-finder from Bate allowed a five metre line-out drive to be expertly guided over the line and dotted down by Dan Lowdon, with Bate converting for Tynedale to lead for the first time in the match, edging ahead 11-15.

The remainder of the match was again fairly scrappy with neither side able to string sufficient phases together to really stretch the opposition. Alnwick were eventually penalised in the dying moments and another well-struck penalty from the impressive Bate secured a final score of 18-11.

On Saturday they will host Middlesbrough.