Morpeth 16 Wheatley Hills 22 North One East
MORPETH lost this hard-fought match but the losing bonus point secured their league status for next year.
It was never a classic played on a bone-hard surface in glorious sunshine with the pitches in superb condition given the last weekend in April.
There was a good crowd at Mitford Road with the Past Players gathering, as well as a touring side in action, on the adjoining pitch.
In a game littered with injuries, Wheatley just about deserved the spoils.
In an end-to-end opening, Morpeth took the lead when Dickinson drove over from close range, which came after good work from Scott and Simms.
This try was unconverted but Wheatley hit back almost immediately when a poor Morpeth restart, which was a feature throughout, allowed the Yorkshiremen to score a try of their own to make it 5-5.
Morpeth then scored again when prop Ramsey buried over from close range from a good line-out.
Again, the lead was short-lived and a converted try under the posts gave Wheatley a 12-10 lead, which was turned into a 13-12 lead for the home side when Jinks kicked a penalty.
Despite the conditions in their favour, Morpeth were never able to threaten Wheatley by spending time in the opposition 22.
The second-half was similar to the first, suffering with long delays and various injuries, but it was the Yorkshiremen who regained the lead and then went on to score a crucial, and what proved to be match-winning try mid-way through the second period.
Morpeth’s riposte was a further Jinks penalty which secured that all important bonus point and league status.
It should be noted that Morpeth have never been relegated since the inception of the leagues which, in itself, is a significant achievement.