Westoe Colts 25 Morpeth Colts 8
MORPETH Colts came back to earth with a bump on a their visit to Westoe, after recent good victories over Gosforth and Alnwick.
Westoe have just attained top spot in the Colts League following wins over Billingham and Percy Park, so this was always going to be a tough fixture but one the Morpeth coaches always felt their youngsters could win.
Westoe got the game under way and, in the early stages, the Mitford Road outfit certainly took the game to their opponents, working the phases well and clearing out impressively in the rucks.
Within two minutes, Morpeth were three points to the good through the boot of Ollie Tapscott after the home team infringed at a ruck on their 10-metre line.
Morpeth continued to press but were let down by some poor handling, giving the home team the chance to gain possession and counter, which they did with their fly-half pulling the strings.
On 15 minutes, Westoe crashed over in the corner to make it 5-3, with the conversion going wide.
That is how the score remained for the next 15 minutes.
Westoe now had the lion’s share of possession with the visitors making it easy for them with an uncharacteristically tepid defence; it was only a matter of time before the next score came.
On 30 minutes, Westoe notched their second try, which was also unconverted, making the score 10-3.
For the remainder of the first half, Morpeth had their chances.
Full-back Matty Court made an impressive run from halfway to within 10 metres of the try-line, only to be tackled into touch.
Had he passed to the supporting Tom Manley, it would have been a different story.
Westoe cleared their lines and then built the phases, only losing the ball to a knock-on.
From the resulting scrum, Morpeth pressed for that elusive score but yet another attack came to naught.
Westoe had the last say of the half with another try, making the half-time score 15-3.
Changes were made at the break, with Josh Bailey replacing Ian Grieve at hooker and Craig Donnelly coming into the back-row for Richard Robinson. Also, Sam Lamont replaced the injured Liam Scott at centre.
Morpeth started the second half the brighter of the two teams.
Number eight Toby Ward was causing some havoc, making strong runs with ball in hand and some bone-jarring tackles.
Fly-half Tapscott was also having one of his best games of the season, as was second row Olly Bradley.
In the centres, last week’s man-of-the-match Tait was making some incisive runs but unfortunately four players do not a team make and Westoe had more than four players performing at their best.
On 40 minutes, Morpeth got the breakthrough, with Ward making a typical break through the midfield.
He was supported by wing Evans, who took the pass and pinned his ears back to score in the corner.
With the conversion just going wide, the score was 15-8.
It took all of three minutes for Westoe to score again through a penalty, making the score 18-8.
Following this, Morpeth did try to counter and made several try-scoring opportunities, which they managed to butcher with the final pass going astray or lack of support.
On 57 minutes, the home side all but sealed the victory with some fine running from their wing, who stood up not one but three defenders to put the support runner through un-opposed to score between the posts.
With the home fly-half making no mistake, the two points were added for a 25-8 scoreline.
After the re-start, Morpeth pressed for a try and defended well for the remainder of the game but it was too little, too late and the final score remained 25-8 to Westoe.
With lessons learned, Morpeth returned north to prepare for their next challenge, Ponteland away in the County Cup on Sunday.