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Dinnington blow golden chance of surprise win

Action involving Dinnington, who came within a whisker of beating high-riding Alnwick. (PHOTO BY: Chris Etchells)
Action involving Dinnington, who came within a whisker of beating high-riding Alnwick. (PHOTO BY: Chris Etchells)

Frustrated Dinnington missed a golden opportunity to steal a march on their relegation rivals when conceding two late tries to hand victory to promotion-chasing Alnwick.

Sitting next to bottom in the North East One division of the National League, Dinnington looked set for a surprise win as they led 17-3 at half-time and entered the last two minutes with a narrow 22-20 advantage, which they were defending without too much trouble.

But then they gave away a penalty which Alnwick turned into a kick and chase to claim a converted try. And in the dying seconds, the match slipped agonisingly away as the visitors pounced on a loose ball to score again and seal a 32-22 success.

Dinnington had also made an unfortunate start to the game when one of their players was sin-binned in the first minute. No damage was done, however, and almost as soon as he returned, they scored after a break by Jonny West set up a maul from which the ball was picked up by Awly Trueman, who went over in the corner.

Alnwick tried to hit back straight away, but Dinnington went further ahead when good inter-passing in the backs set up Chris Williams for a long run to the line. The conversion hit the post.

As the visitors responded strongly again, missing a penalty in front of the posts, Dinnington led a charmed life, but it did not prevent them extending their lead even further when John Marshall showed tremendous strength to fend off four tacklers to get in under the posts. Morgan Bunting converted to make it 17-0.

Alnwick should have scored five minutes later when their number ten skipped past several defenders, only to drop the ball five metres from the line. But they finally got on the scoreboard with a penalty just before the interval.

Dinnington made a bright start to the second half, but a promising break ended with them giving away a penalty. This allowed Alnwick to set up an attack and, taking advantage of missed tackles, they scored under the posts.

The hosts replied by kicking a penalty to the corner but were held up as they tried to drive for the line and the ball was cleared. They were soon back on the attack and from another lineout, they moved the ball out for Tyle Stimpson to score and claim his side a bonus point.

As they had done when the two sides met at their place, the Alnwick supporters were asking how Dinnington could possibly be in the bottom two playing like this. Their team did strike with a penalty, but for the next 15 minutes, it was nip-and-tuck as the two sides thwarted each other.

The game’s decisive moment came ten minutes from the end when the visitors took a quick penalty and Dinnington were penalised for not getting out of the way, sending one of their players to the bin. Alnwick kicked to the corner, won a penalty at the lineout and another quick tap put them over.