After their championship-winning campaign last year, Saturday saw Morpeth men’s hockey first team play their first game in North Division 2 East, unknown territory for the club and a number of its younger players.
After some encouraging pre-season performances against strong opposition, Morpeth knew what was ahead against a Stockton team which finished third last season.
Morpeth started strongly, and Stockton struggled to break down the well-organised half-court press, with their only option to try to throw long balls up to their skilful attackers.
They managed to keep Stockton at bay for the first 20 minutes until a flick beat Read to give the home team a 1-0 lead.
That did not deter Morpeth, and Kendall was unlucky not to pull the scores level after a good team move, and Hudson also tested the Stockton keeper.
The second half continued in much the same vain, but Morpeth twice found themselves down to 10 men after receiving yellow cards.
Carmichael, however, levelled the scores with a reverse stick strike to celebrate the arrival of his son.
The game became more open, and Stockton struck a couple of quick strikes to make the score 3-1.
Morpeth heads did not drop, however, and, with plenty of time left, they went on the attack, and skipper Brown brought the scores back level with two strikes, including a well-worked short corner, and Stockton were reduced to 10 men as tempers flared.
Cook then broke free from the back to crash home a strike to make the score 4-3 to the visitors.
Stockton, though, were not finished, and it took some fine saves and a clearance off the line by Hinshaw to keep the score at 4-3.
However, after the award of a short corner and an initial save from Read, Stockton were awarded a penalty flick, which was converted to tie it up at 4-4.