Morpeth Colts 25 Billingham Colts 26
SATURDAY saw the visit of the undefeated and top-of-the league Billingham arriving at Mitford Road for their match against Morpeth Colts.
With the first and second teams at home, the Colts were playing over the bridge on the Field of Dreams, conditions were nigh on perfect as the home side kicked off.
Within the first minute, the ball went to ground from a sloppy Billingham pass, left wing Lawn pounced, fly hacking down field, and the foot chase was on. With the ball bobbling over the try line, Lawn got there first to score. Morpeth had the dream start with the conversion bouncing off the upright (5-0).
Billingham are not the sort of team to lie down. They came back at the home side with purpose, rucking well at the breakdown and playing at a ferocious pace. On the fourth minute they crossed the line following an impressive break, with the conversion sailing through the posts (5-7).
Morpeth continued to compete, but seemed a little slow settling into the game especially around the breakdown, Billingham were next to score out wide, the kick was missed making the score 5-12 on the 15 minute mark.
This seem to shock the Mitford Road outfit into action and they increased their work rate and started causing Billingham problems at the ruck. It wasn’t long before the away team were penalised in their 22 following some impressive phase play, Brown stepped up to take the three points making the score (8-12).
Morpeth continued to pile on the pressure after the re-start but Billingham were more than contributing to a very competitive game of rugby with no quarter given or asked for. This was brutal stuff.
The away team were next to score, again through their impressive backs, with the kicker adding the extras (8-19).
The Morpeth young guns re-grouped and got the game under way again, winning the ball back, the forwards took it on, building the phases, then releasing the backs.At a ruck in the away 22 Billingham were judged to be offside affording Brown the chance at three points which he took making the score (11-19).
With a minute of the half left, Morpeth scored again, following an infringement at a ruck by the Teessiders. Brown kicked for the corner, the lineout was taken cleanly, setting up a drive for the line, the maul collapsed just short, but Harry Brown picked up and powered his way over touching down, the other Brown on the team added the extras making it 18-19 and setting the scene for an enthralling second half.
Billingham got the second half underway.
Neither side were willing to yield and much of the play was in the midfield area making for a very combative battle of attrition, Morpeth were the first to break the deadlock with fly half Brown sniffing a gap he darted through, and danced his way through the defence, to score between the posts, adding the two points and making the score 25-19 with 24 minutes of the game left.
Billingham redoubled their efforts and eventually got the break down their left wing, to score; with the conversion kicked it was 25-26, with 20 minutes left.
Both sides continued to play at a high tempo, looking for that killer score, Morpeth probably looked the most likely to score for most of the remainder of the game, but Billingham’s defence was solid.
With five minutes left Morpeth got the opportunity at a long range penalty kick but it dropped just short of the posts, and so the final score remained (25-26).
For all they were beaten, the home side could take a lot of pride in their performance, this was a tough match and one that the away coach told the Morpeth players was the hardest game they’d had all season, praise indeed from a very good outfit.
The Colts now have a break this weekend before picking up a friendly the following week.
Morpeth Colts are proudly sponsored by Walton Marquees of Brunswick Industrial Estate.