Sat. 6th September 2014. Northern Wanderers vs Alnwick II. Candy League 1 Away.
Northern fielded a strong pack for this game and started really well pressurising Alnwick back in their own half for the first 10 minutes and creating some scoring opportunities. It was disappointing that Alnwick scored a break-away try which they converted on 10 minutes after Northern had turned over the ball to take the lead very much against the run of play. From the restart the Northern again pressurised Alnwick and on 13 minutes they conceded a penalty which fly half Tommy Williams kicked to reduce the deficit. Northern tried to run back the kick off but were again sloppy in possession and Alnwick scored a second converted try on 14 minutes when they stole the ball in contact. Alnwick started to get more possession after this and made some forays into the Northern half, however generosity was not confined to Northern and a good piece of anticipation allowed left wing Connor Chamberlain to intercept a pass and race 70 metres to score a fine try on 18 minutes that was converted by Tommy Williams. Northern’s set pieces were working well and both line outs and scrums were providing good first phase ball, though Alnwick were fortunate not to be penalised for wheeling the scrums more than 90 degrees on Northern’s put in. Alnwick were pinned back in their own half for long periods but Northern were unable to score. Alnwick did have one long range penalty attempt on 25 minutes that was well wide before Northern eventually scored on 32 minutes when Tommy Williams powered over for an unconverted try following a good drive by the Northern pack. Alnwick were very fortunate to still have 15 men on the field when from the kick off the Northern catcher was taken out in the air by a dangerous hit from the Alnwick wing. A red or yellow card would have been in order but the referee deemed a penalty was sufficient punishment. Northern lost some composure at this point and Alnwick moved the ball to their backs and broke through some poor tacking to score a converted try on 35 minutes. Once again the Northern pack upped their game and following some good driving, replacement back row Matt Brooks made a barnstorming run for the ball to be recycled to Tommy Williams who forced his way over the line for an unconverted try on 40 minutes. Half time score: Alnwick II 21 - Northern Wanderers 20.
Northern started the second half and again took the game to Alnwick, forcing them to play in their own half. Alnwick’s first attack in Northern’s half broke down because of some aggressive defence by Northern and the ball broke loose to Connor Chamberlain who again showed some serious pace to outstrip the Alnwick defenders and score an unconverted try on 45 minutes giving Northern the lead and a bonus point (4 trys). Northern continued to create some good attacking opportunities but lack of cohesion caused these moves to break down. Northern were forced to make a change to their front row when hooker Ben Smallwood was replaced with a neck injury and the line out misfired after this. Alnwick were having more success by moving the ball wide and again poor midfield defence by Northern allowed Alnwick to score out wide on 63 minutes to regain the lead. Northern did have an opportunity to score on 68 minutes but elected to kick a penalty for a line out in the 22 which they lost instead of going for points. Northern then conceded a soft try when after failing to clear their lines Alnwick turned over Northern possession in the 22 and drove over for an unconverted try on 70 minutes. Northern took the game back to Alnwick but coughed up ball again and on 73 minutes Alnwick were given a penalty 25 metres out which they kicked to stop Northern getting a second bonus point (for being within 7 points). Despite Northern still trying to get a further score, Alnwick defended resolutely and were able to see the game out. Final score: Alnwick II 34 - Northern Wanderers 25.
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