Clinical Colts brush aside challenge

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Middlesbrough Colts 0 Morpeth Colts 29

Saturday saw Morpeth Colts making the trip down to Teesside to play Middlesbrough, on a cold and briskly windy January afternoon.

The hosts got the match under way with the wind at their backs. Morpeth immediately put themselves under pressure by failing to collect the kick, giving the Teessiders possession which they used well to assert some pressure on the visitors.

With much of the opening exchanges spent in the Morpeth 22, it was only through some backs-to-the-wall defending that the hosts were kept out.

Eventually, Morpeth cleared their lines and started patiently to build some pressure of their own.

From a line-out on the opposition 10 metre line, Morpeth tried a catch-and-drive but were bundled into touch giving possession to the hosts.

The Middlesbrough hooker threw the ball in but McCubbin, leaping like a tin of salmon at the front of the line intercepted.

Scrum-half Ball spun the ball out, finding Walker who carried to the gain line and passed to centre Lishman running a hard line. He was well tackled and from the ensuing ruck open-side Singer took an inside pass to sail through a gap and score just to the left of the posts, with Walker adding the extras. It was 7-0 to the Mitford Road youngsters after 19 minutes.

Middlesbrough advanced to the 10 metre line, where they knocked on, giving Morpeth the scrum about 15 metres in from the touch-line.

From the scrum, the ball went through the hands, finding Smith on the right-wing in space. He showed good pace to run the ball in and score. Walker sent the conversion through the uprights to make it 14-0 on 26 minutes.

Morpeth continued to press and looked the most likely to score again, coming close with five minutes of the half remaining, but were thwarted by Middlesbrough’s canny knack of slowing the ball up at the ruck, which ultimately led to McCubbin perhaps a little unfairly finishing the half in the bin.

Morpeth got the second half under way still down to 14 men and, within three minutes, found themselves on the scoresheet again.

A line-out just inside their own half on the right touchline was well won and the drive was set up. The Morpeth pack mauled the ball to just outside the Middlesbrough 22, when scrum-half Ball saw some space in behind and put a clever little kick over the top for right-wing Smith to chase and gather just short of the try-line. Under some pressure, he dived over to score wide out.

Walker stepped up and made no mistake with a difficult kick, cutting the uprights in half and making it 21-0, with 38 minutes played.

Morpeth continued to press and on 51 minutes were awarded a penalty about 20 metres out in front of the posts which they sensibly elected to kick. Ball converted to make the score 24-0.

The Northumbrians continued to dominate and on 61 minutes wrapped up the game with a fine show and go from Ball who darted over wide out on the right. With the conversion missed, the score remained 29-0.

This was a clinical and well-executed victory for Morpeth, they now have a rest from league action and go on to play Percy Park at home in the quarter-final of the County Cup on Saturday.