The opening day of the 2014/15 season could not have been better with the trees surrounding McCracken Park beginning to have that golden autumn glow and an afternoon of pleasant sunshine and a clear blue sky. The ground looked immaculate with splendid new boards at the entrance and a new scoreboard plus the Heineken protectors around the goalposts and flags.
Our old friends from Alnwick were very welcome visitors who sadly spoiled the day by winning 26 – 5.
The match sponsor, Alastair Tindle, had invited many old friends of the club including stalwarts Giles Smallwood and Simon Tilley. It was also good to see Neil Forsyth in the crowd.
Northern started the game with a bang and the pack had the upper hand in most of the exchanges. After a long penalty kick was missed we camped in the Alnwick 22 but an ambitious long pass allowed an interception by Shell to scorch away and score under the posts. Certainly the Alnwick backs always looked dangerous and a poorly directed kick by Northern allowed them to show their skills and with good handling and “dodgy” tackling Alnwick again scored under the posts with a try by right wing Todd.
Throughout the game Northern’s pack had the upper hand but were unable to create sufficient clear opportunities. The Alnwick defence was well led by flanker Hamilton and two further tries, one of which was converted, gave the score a flattering look.
Northern never gave up and Phil Ludford scored a try in the last minute.
Yes, a disappointing start but the Northern coaches will have learnt a great deal and it is ironic that the scoreboard sponsor Speed(flex) was something Alnwick had in spades.
Next Saturday we travel to Wheatley Hills who always provide stiff opposition but splendid hospitality. As usual supporters are more than welcome on the bus.
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