Morpeth 50 Team Northumbria 36 North One East
MORPETH won this vital league encounter which leaves them still with all to play for as we get to the season’s end, writes Tom Green.
This was a must-win game and with no little determination they got the right result. As the result suggests. it was never easy in a very high-scoring game with the hard ground causing a number of missed tackles from both sides.
It was a lovely afternoon at Grange Road and the visiting students immediately took the game to Morpeth. They had an ideal opportunity to make the first score, before forward power – which was the key for Morpeth throughout – saw the home side take a commanding lead.
First, a line-out drive and a Scott try saw Morpeth lead 5-0 after 15 minutes.
Then, after 23 minutes, a storming run by Duggan, who was immense throughout, saw Morrison pick up and drive over.
Jinks converted and, after an early penalty miss, kicked superbly throughout. This was then followed by a further Morpeth score, a Simms break in the centre saw Lynn crash over, another Jinks conversion followed. 19-0.
It only got better, Simms crossing with style and another Jinks conversion. By the half-time whistle, all credit to the students saw the lead cut to 26-19 as Morpeth just held the initiative.
The second-half saw an early Jinks penalty followed by another Team Northumbria try. It was end-to-end stuff with the game very much in the balance.
It was then that Morpeth dug deep. A poor line-out from the visitors allowed Duggan to touch down, the replacement Ben Hornby, reminiscent of his father in his halcyon days, danced through the visiting defence for a notable score.
Then Halliday raced away for another cracking score. Jinks, in fine fettle, kicked two super conversions.
To their immense credit, the students came back with two further tries to make the final score 50-36 – a bonus point win for Morpeth.
This was thought to have made them safe, however, Northern’s excellent win against West Hartlepool means Saturday is another crucial day in the relegation fight at home against Wheatley Hills.
A good crowd will be guaranteed in this, the Past Players luncheon.
This game was also the inaugural event of Value, the volunteer event, all pulled together again by John Stafford.