Tynedale Raiders lost for the second successive week, albeit in entirely different circumstances to last week’s defeat.

At Darlington Mowden Park a week earlier, the squad had shown character, resilience and no shortage of rugby prowess to come up just short against a strong opposition. At home to Alnwick this week, the performance was anything but and the score line of 55-19 to the visitors reflected just how outplayed the Tynedale side were.

Tynedale welcomed a number of first choice players back into the squad and entered the match with high hopes of returning to winning ways on a blustery but dry January afternoon. The game was also officiated by a Spanish female referee who was excellent throughout and allowed the game to flow as it should.

The Raiders played into the breeze in the first half and found themselves almost immediately under pressure, and following some well organised set piece play, Alnwick rumbled over from close range for the opening score.

Only three minutes later, the Raiders were under their own posts again when some dubious defence around the ruck saw the Alnwick scrum half sell an outrageous dummy and run in for try number 2 for 14-0 with less than 10 minutes on the clock and Tynedale yet to start playing.

Alnwick on the other hand were playing with composure and purpose and opted for a long range shot at goal which their excellent kicker duly obliged to extend the lead to an ominous 17 points with only 15 minutes of the match played.

At this point in the game, Tynedale finally managed to get their hands on some extended possession and following some decent phases, Rory Cramb made a telling break and fed on to Cam Grant who found the supporting Adam Todhunter for the run-in to close the gap to 17-5.

Any thoughts that this was the start of the Tynedale revival were immediately quashed when yet again some soft defence allowed the Alnwick centre space to carve open and run in another score. The Raiders defence and robustness in the breakdown was in full disarray, and on the stroke of half time, Alnwick extended their lead to 5-29 with yet another try.

It was hoped that the half time team talk and the chance to get their game together would enable a great comeback, or at least allow the Raiders to show a spirited second half revival. Alas, it was not to be as Alnwick ran in a further four tries at regular intervals in the half.

Tynedale managed to score two well-worked scores through Ed Cawthorn following a neat break by replacement flanker Callum Morrell and a further score by Grant after a good line by Micky Hall, both converted by Grant.

Suffice to say that the result, and more importantly, the performance was Tynedale Raiders’ poorest for some time. This takes nothing away from Alnwick who turned up with real focus, physicality and spirit and thoroughly deserved their win.

For Tynedale, there were very few shining lights, the one real exception being man of the match James Clark who had a fine game in the backs and put in some memorable hard-hitting tackles.

There will need to be some soul-searching within the Raiders squad this week and hard work at training as they look to put things right next week. They face Morpeth away next weekend in another tough Candy League fixture.