Colts bounce back

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Northern Colts 3 Morpeth Colts 15 County Cup Semi Final

A DAY after crashing out of the Borders Cup in a 66-0 defeat to Selkirk, Morpeth Colts found themselves facing Northern in the semi-final of the Northumberland County Cup.

It was a much-changed starting XV who trotted out at Mckracken Park with Liam (Chesney) Scott being the only Colt to have started in both games. Morpeth got the game under way, with captain Andrew Telford kicking into the wind. Northern took the ball cleanly but were immediately under pressure from a Morpeth pack that seemed determined to right the wrongs of the day before.

The Mitford Road youngsters defended the early exchanges well. Before too long, they turned the ball over through excellent work from back-row of Ward, Donnelly and Lamont. Finding themselves under a lot of pressure on the edge of their 22, Northern were penalised for handling in the ruck, Telford duly kicked the three points.

Northern came back at the visitors on the restart but Morpeth again worked the ball upfield, building the phases until they were within five metres of the home try-line, thanks to a scintillating break by prop Grieve.

Scrum-half Jack Elliot found one on the fringes and sniped over for an excellent score, with Telford adding the extras (10-0).

For the remainder of the half, Northern upped their game but at half-time the score remained 10-0.

Northern got the second half under way and immediately got a scrum for a knock-on, from which they built a good attacking platform, putting Morpeth under pressure. They were awarded a penalty to make it 10-3.

This seemed to galvanise Morpeth and, from the restart, they immediately went on the offensive, with some hard rucking and big tackles, quickly turning the ball over and moving it through the hands to wing Brent Stewart who took off down his wing to score in the corner, with the conversion missed it was now 15-3, nine minutes into the half.

Lemin came on for Reed at prop and Gallagher replacing Stansfield at hooker for Morpeth.

Northern were now throwing everything at the visitors but their defence stood firm. Manley came on for Donaghy, who had been a rock at full-back, to bring a fresh pair of legs into the fray, but in truth he had very little to do and it remained 15-3.

Morpeth now go into the cup final on Sunday, April 29, to face Gosforth, who beat Alnwick 12-3, venue yet to be decided. Man-of-the-match for Morpeth was scrum-half Jack Elliott, who tackled well above his weight and played with a cool head at all times.

Morpeth Colts are proudly sponsored by Newcastle University.