Rossendale 37 V 26 Alnwick
By David Stuart
Match Reporter : Brian Lamb
This was Alnwick’s first visit to Rossendale RUFC, based in Rawtenstall, and their last away game of the season. The game took place on a beautiful spring day with the surrounding Lancashire hills bathed in sunshine. Both sides began a little nervously before a big hit by Hamish Burn in midfield led to Alnwick turning the ball over although the resulting attack petered out. Rossendale cleared their lines with a fine kick only to have the ball returned with credit when quick thinking Atkinson threw in long to Weddle who moved the ball out to Hutchinson to go over for a converted try. 0-7 whilst in the process destroying Alnwick’s cameraman’s tripod.
Rossendale appeared to have got the message that to kick to the visitors and invite the counter attack was not very productive. Keeping ball in hand they made better progress and eventually their powerful inside centre Ward went over for an unconverted try 5-7. In what was becoming a very open game, Clayton pick up a loose ball to begin an Alnwick attack which again exploited their left flank allowing Weddle to increase the lead with an unconverted try. 5-12. The home team then began to get a grip on the game with pressure telling and Alnwick having to concede a number of penalties. In what seemed to be a legitimate counter ruck, they were penalised for not going through the gate and this was followed by J Burn being yellow carded for persistent offences. Despite sterling work by Clayton and the Alnwick defence, outside centre Pattison eventually broke through. 10-12. Cowans replaced Clayton on 30 minutes before an unfortunate clearance was punished by the home team in a tidy back row attack which saw No. 8 Moon go over for a converted try. 17-12, the half time score.
If Alnwick hoped to make a convincing start to the 2nd half Rossendale had other ideas. They immediately punished a knock on from the restart with Wilkinson surging through to increase the lead. 24-12. Slick handling with a ‘give and receive’ by the Lancastrian fly half opened up the Alnwick defence once more to make it 31-24. Hutchinson came off with a shoulder injury, Ellis came on with Robson leaving the field resulting in an Alnwick reshuffle with Todd coming in to scrum half. Thus began a brighter period for the visitors with Todd in particular injecting a sense of urgency. Although Bird, in an attempt to put the visitors on the front foot, found himself isolated and forced to concede a penalty, 34-12, Alnwick were going into the final quarter determined to come away with something. Young was able to support another break by Todd to cap yet another fine performance by the Alnwick 2nd row, going over for a converted try. 34-19. More pressure by the visitors before dissent born out of frustration perhaps, allowed Rossendale to add a further three points 37-19 with a penalty from 30m out. The visitors ceaseless efforts were rewarded when replacement prop Cowan’s, with a huge grin on his face, went over the line for a converted try to give the Greensfield team a well-deserved bonus point. The final score of 37-26 was witness to a good open game enjoyed by both sets of spectators. Apart from the last 20 minutes when their lineout fell short of the mark, Alnwick had competed well in the set pieces. The home team, however, were able to break the visitors defensive line on a number of occasions and this appeared to be the main difference between the two sides. On the plus side for Alnwick, the players brought into the side because of injuries, played very well indeed.
Team Atkinson, Moralee, Hutchinson,Robson, Weddle,C. Burn, J. Burn, Smith, H. Burn, Clayton, Young, Sutheran, Courty Pettifer, Bird, Cowans, Todd, Ellis.
This week’s game is against Wirral who put 75 points past Vale of Lune last Saturday. It is the final league game of the season. There will be a lunch before the game, everyone welcome, names to Michelle, 602342.