Hartlepool Rovers 28 Morpeth 31 Durham and Northumberland Division One
Morpeth maintained their 100 per cent league record on Saturday – but it was less comfortable than it should have been.
With 10 minutes gone in the second half, the visitors were leading 31-13, having secured a bonus point and seemingly coasting to victory. However, Rovers brought themselves into contention with a never-say-die attitude that saw them come within three points of the Mitford Road side.
Defty went over in the corner for an unconverted try, after good work by Phillips and Thornton, to give Morpeth the lead. The home side responded well and following some attacking pressure, they were awarded a penalty try which was converted (7-5).
It has to be said that in the build-up to the try, there was some weak tackling by the away side.
But back came Morpeth with an excellent spell. First, Hill went over from a planned penalty move, Birch hitting the post with the conversion.
Apart from a missed penalty, they continued to handle well and play some good rugby and Birch, who was becoming increasingly influential, scored beneath the posts with a side-stepping solo effort before adding the extras (10-17).
Rovers came back with their own penalty before a driving line-out gave Morpeth another score, with Armstrong touching down, and although Rovers converted another penalty, a 24-13 half-time lead was no more than the visitors deserved.
Lynn then went over after a good line-out drive followed by some excellent handling. The try was converted by Birch (13-31).
Yet Rovers took the game to Morpeth with a big fightback and the final score was 28-31. All credit to the home side for their dominance in the last 30 minutes.