Morpeth 8 Sheffield 7
North One East
This was a close encounter of epic proportions resulting in an excellent home victory. It came in the face of a second-half onslaught from a team currently lying second in the league.
It was a game that could have gone either way, but ultimately it was Morpeth’s tenacity and will that just saw them through.
It was a bleak and grey afternoon at Mitford Road that greeted the two sides with a stiff cold breeze blowing almost directly down the pitch from the clubhouse end. The home side was rocked by an early sin-binning of Forsythe, who is proving to be increasingly influential as the season moves towards its conclusion.
The first half proved fairly dour, with both sides trying to play an expansive in-game in conditions that were hardly condusive. In essence, it was going to be the team that made less errors that would ultimately be victorious.
There is no doubt that Morpeth had the best of the first half, with Parkinson performing ably at full-back and dealing competently with all that was thrown at him.
Just before half-time, Morpeth took a deserved lead when forward pressure and an attacking line-out enabled Forsythe to crash over. Although Phillips missed the conversion, he was on target with a further penalty at the half-time whistle, making the score 8-0.
The second half belonged to Sheffield, throwing the proverbial kitchen sink at the home side which tackled and defended with absolute commitment, but little skill.
Forsythe and Duggan were to the fore with Hornby, at nine, always sniping and a threat.
Yet, this victory was about the team and character, and despite being on the back foot for 45 minutes.
Morpeth just about held firm despite a deserved penalty try to the Yorkshiremen.
Before the game, a minute’s silence was observed for Stan Driver, who has passed away. Stan will always be etched in the history of Morpeth Rugby Club as the club president during the epic John Player Cup campaign back in the 70s. However, this was just a another typical contribution for a man who may have been small in stature, but immense in terms of commitment and loyalty. He will be sorely missed by everyone connected with Morpeth Rugby Club.