It’s the final countdown

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IT was a successful weekend for two of Morpeth Hockey Club’s men’s teams.

Following on from the second team clinching the North East Hockey League Intermediate Division Two title earlier this month, the thirds and fourths reached their respective competition finals.

In the Development Leagues Cup Semi-Final, Morpeth III took on Redcar at their Longhirst home.

Despite the harsh winds, the hosts maintained excellent ball control and were able to quickly make their way down the pitch allowing Simon Gilmore to score the first goal early on in the game.

The visitors were strong on the counter-attack but Morpeth did not give in and responded with some good defensive pressing, enabling them to regain the ball.

As Redcar approached their goal they passed the ball between themselves only to have it intercepted by a strong defence of Murray, Gallivan, Durance and a cameo appearance by Minty. On a couple of occasions the man between the sticks, Steve Jackson, was called upon to prevent an equaliser.

Just before half-time, Morpeth were allowed to break again.

Andy Gallivan smacked the ball with ferocious power towards the left-hand corner of the goal and Jamie Macdonald provided the finishing touch to make it 2-0.

In the second half, the home side continued to keep Redcar high up the pitch, making it extremely difficult for them to get possession in attacking areas and have some shots on goal.

Unfortunately, with the away side playing crash ball it meant that there was a couple of injuries to Morpeth players.

But the green and gold responded well and James Sanders sealed the victory with a fine goal.

Morpeth IV were in action in the Development Leagues Plate Semi Final against Stokesley II. The game was played in an excellent spirit throughout, with both sides trying to play good hockey.

Each team relied on an experienced rock in the heart of their defence – Gordon Mockett for Morpeth – and with no score by half time it looked as though the result might have to be decided by penalty flicks.

But then Morpeth started to penetrate, especially down the right wing, and won a penalty corner from which Dean Critchley scored on the rebound.

The lead was short-lived as all but Martin Farrar were stranded upfield and Stokesley equalised.

However, back came Morpeth and Martyn Bott scored direct from another penalty corner to win the tie.