Northern Colts 12 Morpeth Colts 52
A SUNNY Saturday afternoon saw Morpeth Colts making the short trip to Northern, feeling in buoyant mood after their under 17 triumph in the Colts County Sevens the week before.
The visitors played into a stiff breeze, receiving the ball at kick-off. The home team started brightly, using their strong runners in the midfield, and after 14 minutes managed to find a way through to score out wide – with the conversion missed the score remained 5-0.
Morpeth hit back and patiently went through the phases before releasing the backs who showed slick hands. Gaps were created, with centre Alex Tait going through one on 20 minutes to score between the uprights and fly half Bradley made no mistake with the boot to give them a two-point lead.
The away side continued to be in the ascendancy, this time getting the ball wide to Manley who showed good pace to touch down between the posts. With the two points added, the half time score was 5-14.
Changes were made at half-time with Smith coming into the centre and Brown on for Bradley at fly half. Morpeth now had the wind advantage which Brown used to good effect, keeping the home team in their half.
It wasn’t long before they struck again with Duncan running a good line from full back to power over in the corner. Brown added the extras to further increase their lead.
Northern now raised their game and played themselves back into it with grit and determination. A good break at the fringe of a ruck gave them the opportunity to move the ball, which they did leading to a score between the posts. This time with the conversion on target it was 12-21.
The hosts continued to battle but never really threatened the Morpeth line again. Further changes were made with Sam House coming on at nine, Karl Pritchard slotting into the row and Jones stepping into prop for Reed.
In the 50th minute Duncan again went over to the right of the posts, this time a rare miss from Brown left the score at 12-26.
The Mitford Road young guns really started to cut loose and probably had their best spell of the game when almost from the kick off they moved the ball, with Manley managing to get on the end of it and score. The conversion was added on this occasion.
Next up to score for the visitors was the young Dugdale. Cutting in off his wing he supported the lively Tait well and took the pass to score a try just left of the posts, which was converted (12-40).
Twelve minutes later Dugdale was on the scoresheet again, this time showing good pace and stepping his opposite number to cross the line for an impressive try. The ever dependable Brown stepped up to add the extras.
With three minutes of the game remaining Duncan, who was now playing at flanker, made a good supporting run to take the pass and complete his hat-trick to the right of the posts. As the conversion was missed, the final score was 12-52.
This was no easy victory for the away team, who had to work hard to come out on top against a determined Northern side. Man-of-the-match went to captain Nick Birch who led by example and put in an impressive shift.
Newcastle University and Walton Marquees sponsor Morpeth Colts.