Morpeth 30 Malton and Norton 30 North One East
THIS was a battle royal on a beautiful spring day at Mitford Road, with the result just about reflecting the relevant merits of both sides.
It was a game that sprung to life late on and also the most unusual sight of an injury to the referee, who was replaced by the Reivers referee on the nearby pitch.
It was Morpeth who took an early lead with the returning Jinks converting a simple penalty. Almost immediately Malton hit back with a score of their own to make it 3-3.
Morpeth again took the initiative when Hornby dived over in the corner from an attacking scrum.
This try was not converted. The game continued to see-saw with Malton scoring a try under the posts to take them into a 10-8 lead.
Jinks was on the mark for Morpeth with another penalty before Malton replied with a similar score to make it 13-11 to the visitors at half-time.
This free-scoring game continued in the same vein in the second half when a soft score for the visitors increased their lead to 20-11. Morpeth then had their best spell in the game, Jinks with two further penalties brought the score to score to 20-17 half way through the second half.
Excitement grew further when Jinks, with a great strike, brought the scores level with everything to play for.
The game then went directly against Morpeth when Jinks was sin-binned just as they were gaining momentum, this proved a crucial stage in the game when Morpeth’s 14 men conceded two tries to the North Yorkshire outfit who looked to have the game won at 30-20 with 10 minutes to go.
Yet Morpeth dug deep and showed tremendous spirit, when first a bullocking run from Simms allowed him to force his way over.
Jinks, with a conversion from wide out, then another penalty, ensured that the points were shared.
These two points gained were vitally important in Morpeth’s fight to stay in the league, their steel will be further tested with this Saturday’s encounter against a relegation-threatened Gateshead.