ARRIVING with a squad that was already stretched to the limit, this traditionally tough fixture was made even more difficult for Corbridge Centurions with loss of the very promising prop forward Owen Shield.

He was forced to leave the field very early after a seemingly innocuous challenge left him with what appeared to be serious hamstring tear.

However, this setback, did not prevent an heroic effort by the remaining team members, well led by their vocal captain Andy Purves who managed to organise his back line whilst still being able to assist the referee with many difficult decisions.

Alnwick took an early lead when Purves was unable to prevent the award of a try when there appeared to be Corbridge arms under the ball.

The rest of the half was well contested with both sides eager to run the ball at every opportunity.

It was the visitors who were more clinical in their finishing. Ian Charlton wrestled the ball clear in midfield and Andy Harvey, under severe pressure, managed to get the ball to full-back Purves.

His astute kick bounced behind the Alnwick defence and Steven Raine outstripped the cover to touch down, with Andy Harvey slotting the conversion.

Another strong run from defence by Raine was supported by the busy Charlie Harvey and Mark Smales, before Graham Crosby slid the ball through and followed up his own kick to collect and glide over for a try that Andy Harvey converted.

Early in the second half the Centurions extended the lead when hooker Karl Main appeared on the wing to sprint home.

Both sides then had chances. Rhys Loughead, Rory Craney, Gareth Little and Charlton went very close for Corbridge before a long break out by the Alnwick fly half resulted in a try.

The excellent Jake Sloan, who was racing back, prevented him from touching down under the posts and the missed conversion kept the visitors two scores clear.

Some powerful defensive work prevented Alnwick narrowing the gap and Corbridge ran out deserved winners in a physical battle with all the players from both sides deserving credit for a close and entertaining match.