Morpeth 15 Northern 28 North One East
THE clear implications of this defeat mean that Morpeth need to win one of their last two league games, away to Old Brodleians and home to Crossleyians to ensure league safety.
This was a game from which Morpeth deserved something positive but a mixture of poor execution and decision-making proved their undoing against a spritely Northern outfit who always looked lively.
It was a bone-hard pitch that greeted the two sides and, after early Northern pressure, it was the home side that took the lead through a simple penalty from Jinks after eight minutes.
The lead was shortlived and a poor re-start allowed Northern an equalising three points.
The sides then swapped penalties before Jinks took Morpeth into the lead with a further score from his trusty left boot.
It looked as though Morpeth, perhaps undeservedly, were going to the interval in the lead.
But increasing Northern pressure saw a score from an attacking line-out, which was expertly converted to give Northern the lead at the interval.
Morpeth then took hold of the game. Simms kicked ahead and gathered to put pressure on the opposition, allowing another Jinks penalty to make the score 13-12 to Northern, who immediately responded with three points of their own to make it 16-12.
For almost the remainder of the half, Morpeth played the game with 14 men, due to sin-binnings. Firstly Mooney and then crucially Defty at a time Morpeth were under the posts in a try-scoring position some five metres out.
Northern were able to score another try from an attacking line-out but the home side really stepped up their game – a restored Mooney with a storming run and then Lynas, running almost the length of the field, came so close to scoring.
Cruelly, Northern broke away for a try in the very last move of the game.