Alnwick vs Harrogate
By Peter Kitching
For the second time this season, Harrogate experienced a scoreless first half but, this time, they took control after the interval and rattled in 4 tries in half an hour to earn a bonus point.
Alnwick scored a consolation converted try in the last move of the match.
Well constructed Alnwick back moves tested Harrogate’s defence with incisive running from talented home full back, Jack Smales taking the eye. However, Harrogate’s defence was more than equal to this as their forwards exerted growing control. Second Rows, Andy Boyde and Sam Brady were dominant in both the tight and loose and anchored the strong front row scrummaging of Tom Driscoll, Aarin Yorke and Connor Ward. Open side flanker, Hugo Tasker was as industrious as ever with Martin Dodds, his blind side colleague giving his usual all action performance. Jonny Coser locked everything from No8 and made several telling breaks throughout the match.
Just after the half time whistle, stand-off, Sam Fox was floored by a late tackle and sustained a shoulder injury which ended his match. The necessary re-shuffle led to Nathan Wyman taking over at fly half and giving an assured display. Luke Edwards came off the bench to add some bite to midfield attacks and other well timed forward substitutions led to telling contributions from Steve Maycock and Tim Heaton.
Almost immediately from the restart, Dodds charged down an attempted Alnwick clearance. Luke Riddell seized on the loose ball and his run was well supported and carried on by Andrew Lawson and Harry Barnard. A driving maul followed the breakdown and scrum half, Danny Matthews darted in to open the scoring. Full back, Oli Rosillo fielded deep and split the home defence with a dazzling run. Strong Harrogate scrummaging had Alnwick’s pack in disarray forcing them to concede a penalty after being driven 15 metres back. They further offended when Harrogate opted for a scrum and a penalty try was awarded.
The next try came from a Wyman break supported by Edwards and Riddell. A maul followed the breakdown and Brady powered to score a try. Close quarter drives from Boyde and Heaton then opened gaps and Coser was in support to score with Wyman adding the conversion.
At the end, Harrogate’s defence relaxed for probably the first time. Good Alnwick scrum ball was passed to Smales who spotted a gap and raced through untouched for a fine individual try which he also converted.
Alnwick: Smales, Morales, S Hutchinson, F Hutchinson, Atkinson, C Burn, J Burn, Green, Smith, Clayton, Bird, Young, Courty, H Burn, Gothorp. Subs:- Holmes, Gray, Sutheran
Harrogate: Rosillo, Barnard, Wyman, Riddell, Lawson, Fox, Matthews, Driscoll, Yorke, Ward, Boyde, Brady, Dodds. Tasker, Coser. Subs:- Edwards, Maycock, Heaton
Referee: Tom Boyle (Yorkshire)
Match report by Bill Barrack