Billingham 31 Morpeth 12 North One East
MORPETH travelled to league leaders Billingham in good heart after their excellent win against Durham City.
With student commitments ruling out some key performers, coupled with the unavailability of fly-half Jinks this was going to be a good test for Morpeth.
It was firm going at Billingham together with a strong wind blowing almost directly straight down the pitch.
Morpeth had the help of the elements in the first half and immediately got on the offensive. It was clear from an early stage that the pattern of the game was the Morpeth forward power against the lively attacking skills of the Billingham back-line.
Morpeth dominated the first 20 minutes, with both half-backs pinning Billingham back.
There were a succession of Morpeth drives to the line repelled by some spirited defence from Billingham.
It was totally against the run of play when Billingham, in a rare sortie, broke through to score under the posts to make the score 7-0 after the half-hour.
This was followed almost immediately with a Simms score with the full-back taking advantage of a long pass from scrum-half Mutch.
The full-back still had a lot to do but he beat two men before crashing over to score an unconverted try.
The Mitford road side then suffered a significant set-back when an ill-directed kick from Mutch was pounced on by the lively home side, who scored an unconverted try as the whistle went for half-time.
The second half started in the same vein as the first ended with Billingham increasing their lead followed by a successful conversion making the score 19-5.
With the elements in their favour, it looked a forlorn hope for Morpeth.
This could not have been further from reality as Morpeth dominated the next quarter as they showed excellent spirit in taking the game to the league leaders.
It was only right that Lynn raced over after good work by forwards and backs, with Hornby throwing an excellent pass to breach the home defence.
Unfortunately, this impetus could not be maintained, with Billingham scoring two further tries to run out deserved winners.