Sat. 7th March 2015. Northern Wanderers vs Alnwick II. Northumberland Senior Shield home.
Northern started this cup semi-final kicking into the wind in good form following a good performance the previous week at Percy Park. The opening exchanges were even but Alnwick were taking advantage of the wind and following a penalty kick for a 5 metre line out they recycled the ball and drove over for a converted try on 13 minutes. Northern took the game back to Alnwick and pressed hard for an equalizing score but a combination of ‘white line fever’ and resolute Alnwick defence prevented a try. Northern were on the score sheet in the 29th minute when number 8 Ryan Moore kicked a penalty following an Alnwick infringement. Northern lost focus on 31 minutes when a poor kick return was turned over by Alnwick and their fly half made a good break to put their centre through for a converted try somewhat against the run of play. Northern made amends soon after the kick off when back row Matt Brooks ripped the ball from an Alnwick maul on the Northern 10 metre line. The ball was moved to prop and captain Ian Brierley who made a powerful forward run before offloading to the supporting backs. The ball reached wing Charlie Craven who accelerated into the Alnwick 22 before taking out the last defender with a crisp inside pass to centre Harrison Clark who touched down for a try converted Ryan Moore. Northern were having difficulties with the refereeing inconstancies at the break-down and conceded a penalty on 38 minutes which Alnwick again kicked for a 5 metre line out and scored another converted try from a forward drive. Things got worse for Northern when from the re-start in the last play of the half, back row Matt Brooks was harshly sin-binned for handling in the ruck even though it looked like the Alnwick player on the ground was isolated and the ball was free. Half time score: Northern Wanderers 10 – Alnwick II 21.
Northern were competitive from the start of the second half but on 46 minutes centre Harrison Clark was rightly sin-binned for a dangerous tackle however the Alnwick penalty kick was wide. Northern were caught out on 51 minutes when trying to run out of their 22. A poor kick was run back by Alnwick and they exploited the space to score a converted try. Northern did press from the re-start and forced a lineout 10 metres from the Alnwick line. A perfectly executed short line out saw Ian Brierley surging into the channel with a score looking on. Unfortunately the move was halted by the referee’s whistle and Alnwick were given a free kick for the ball apparently not going 5 metres. Alnwick launched another attack on 55 minutes and a missed tackle allowed Alnwick to score another converted try. The game ended as a contest on 64 minutes when Ryan Moore, frustrated by a number of contentious decisions, lost control and was correctly red carded by the referee for something he said. Alnwick kicked the penalty to increase their lead. The 14 men of Northern made a concerted effort at this stage and on 67 minutes the ball was moved to replacement wing Connor Chamberlain who outpaced the Alnwick defenders to score a superb unconverted try. Northern continued to press and on 68 minutes following a great run from openside Chris Ure the ball was passed to the supporting Harrison Clark who put his fellow centre Dan Kerr in for another good try. The conversion was made by Harrison Clark and there seemed to be a way back for Northern at this point. Northern still tried to get back into the game but could not find a way through the Alnwick defence and with the Northern pack out on their feet Northern were again harshly penalised at the break down. From the penalty Alnwick kicked for a 5 metre line out which they scored an unconverted try from on 75 minutes. Northern’s bad day at the office was completed when Alnwick turned the ball over in the last play and scored a converted try on time despite what looked like two forward passes in the move. Final score: Northern Wanderers 22 – Alnwick II 50.
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