1st XV - drew 27 - 27 away against Alnwick and also managed that very important point to ensure league safety. Match report thanks to Walter Ritchie.
"They think it's all over - well it is now.” In possibly their best performance of the season Northern produced the goods against an excellent Alnwick side and gained the points needed for league survival no matter what happened at Bradford. Your correspondent was in constant touch with Bradford to find they had scored 4 tries and were only losing by 3 points with only 5 minutes to go!
Alnwick play a fast, keep-the-ball-in-hand game certainly suited to the hard ground conditions which Northern had to react to .Our tackling in these circumstances was excellent with both centres and the back row never giving an inch.
Alnwick started strongly running the ball from all over the park and scored a penalty try, ironically, after we were penalised 3 times in a scrum on our line. Northern equalised when, from a controlled kick and vigorous chase, James Crowther scored under the posts and the scores were level. Sadly James, in scoring, turned his ankle and took no further part in the game and was replaced by Lester Bell. Alnwick regained the lead when winger Burn seemed to burst through every Northern tackle to score under the posts. Again the very hard ground caused flanker James Hamer to leave the pitch when also suffered a turned ankle to be replaced by Laurie Troke which meant a reshuffle in the pack. Northern, with determined tackling and astute grubber kicking, caused Alnwick problems - they transgressed and the ever reliable Donal Collins knocked over the penalty. Half time 14-10 to Alnwick.
With the slope and a slight breeze in their favour Northern asserted pressure and Lester Bell noting a space behind the Alnwick defence chipped ahead gathered and scored in the corner leaving Donal Collins the "easy task" of improving which he did with aplomb! Alnwick came roaring back and with good handling scored under the posts to regain the lead. A penalty kick to the corner was maximised when Sam Wilson was driven over and Northern took the lead again. Alnwick replied with a penalty only for Donal Collins again to regain the lead with another fine kick. With time running out Northern were caught off side and with the resulting penalty scores were again level.
On the final whistle Northern were able to summon up enough energy to celebrate a fine draw against a determined team. Now we can all relax and enjoy the summer.
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