Morpeth 19 Alnwick 27
THE eagerly anticipated return of the ‘Farmers’ Derby’ saw Alnwick claim a surprise victory, writes Tom Green.
Due to both league rugby and poor weather between Christmas and New Year, the annual fixture with Morpeth’s nearest rivals has sometimes fallen through in recent years, including last year, but Saturday was an excellent day for rugby.
With the first-team pitch suffering from Friday’s deluge, both teams made it over the road to compete fiercely – with Alnwick undoubtedly more focused.
The home side kicked off with both the wind and slope in their favour and they initially took control as Jinks kicked over two penalties.
Alnwick hit back with a try and conversion, however a further Jinks penalty followed and soon after there was a try for veteran flanker Nelless to make the score 14-7.
Then came a crucial part of the game with Morpeth pressing and their forwards taking control, but they were unable to increase their lead before half-time.
The second half saw Alnwick up their game, winning ball on the ground as well as being far more direct than a Morpeth outfit, which, to say the least, was lacklustre and a shadow of the one that defeated Middlesbrough before Christmas.
A penalty and three further tries were just reward for the visitors who ran out deserved winners on the day. Jinks crossed for a consolation score to make the final score 19-27.
Congratulations to Alnwick on their deserved success. It was both fitting and poignant to see the Dave Routledge Trophy awarded in the clubhouse together with the Brett Horse, which will now move to new surroundings in north Northumberland.