Morpeth Colts 15 Billingham Colts 17
EVEN with home advantage this was going to be a stern test for the Mitford Road young guns as they were playing the league leaders.
The match kicked off in almost perfect conditions, however it was less than a perfect start for the home side.
With barely two minutes on the clock, Billingham spun the ball wide and found the winger who, with the help of some very poor defending, managed to sprint for the line and score. The conversion was missed.
This seemed to stun the home team into action and although Billingham continued to play well, it was now Morpeth who applied the pressure through some excellent rucking by the forwards which forced turnovers and penalties.
On 10 minutes, after one such foray, the visitors were again penalised giving fly-half Ollie Tapscott the opportunity to step up and take the three points.
With aggressive rucking and terrier-like tackling, a lot of the game was being played in the Billingham half and Morpeth were eventually rewarded with a try.
A five-metre line-out throw by Ian Grieve appeared to be a poor one, but when the Billingham front jumper’s knock-back missed his scrum-half and bounced over the try-line, it was gleefully pounced upon by a very relieved Grieve, who went from villain to hero in a matter of seconds. Tapscott stepped up and impressively added the extras to make it 10-5.
The game continued to be played at a ferocious pace and the next score came on 33 minutes when the Billingham centre was allowed to cut through the midfield and score to the left of the posts. Luckily, the conversion was missed so the scores were level at half-time.
Morpeth started the second half well, but when they were deep in Billingham territory on 57 minutes, the visitors latched onto a loose ball which found its way to the impressive right-winger just outside the away team’s 22.
He then somehow managed to dance his way from there through about 10 missed tackles to score to the left of the uprights. With the two points added, it was 10-17.
But the hosts came back strongly and a well-worked move released the impressive Liam Scott in the centre, who broke the line, making yards up the right.
Good hands gave Ward some space and he managed to run in and score in the corner.
With the conversion attempt just missing, it was now 17-15 to Billingham with four minutes remaining.
Morpeth had a chance to get the victory their performance deserved before full-time, but Tapscott’s penalty from 40 metres went wide of the posts.