Gateshead 18 Morpeth 6 North One East
THIS was without doubt Morpeth’s worst display of the season against a Gateshead side that has struggled since gaining promotion last season.
It has been a while since the side won after making such a promising start in the first month. It is true to say that injuries to key players have not helped but overall there are too many occasions when individuals fail to take responsibilty by making the wrong decision, never more so than when Gateshead scored their second try just before half-time and with the game very much in the balance.
A simple switch in the centre was not threatening in the least but became so when Morpeth allowed the centre to make 20 metres through a variety of missed tackles to put the winger over in the corner.
To the game itself: Gateshead took the lead when fly-half Foster, currently teaching at King Edward VI, slotted an execellent penalty.
There then ensued a crucial passage of play with Phillips and Bell carving a hole in the home defence, then with numerous players outside Armstrong knocked on, albeit from an unsympethtic pass with the line beckoning.
Morpeth never really threatened after this, they scored with another Jinks penalty, however, opportunites for further points were squandered when a kick for touch with an attcking line-out was opted for rather than kicking for goal.
A good option maybe, but critical attacking line-outs were repeatedly lost with Morpeth’s points coming from the boot of Jinks.
Gateshead were dogged and deserved their win, Foster being a key performer and the game’s best player.
Hall, coming in at number eight, worked hard and Hills ran strongly from the right wing, but it was difficult to give praise in this poor game.