Morpeth 26 Wheatley Hills 32 North One East
MORPETH continued their poor run of recent form with a disappointing home defeat at the hands of Yorkshire pacesetters Wheatley Hills, writes Tom Green.
Yet again it was another lovely day for rugby when the sides took the field.
Hills had just beaten current league leaders Billingham and were full of confidence – moving the ball wide impressively early on.
This adventure was rewarded with an a penalty after five minutes, but the Mitford Road side responded when, from an attacking five-yard scrum, a heel against the head saw number eight Armstrong crash over for a try with Jinks adding the extra two points.
However, this lead was short-lived and two tries before half-time took the Yorkshire side into an impressive 17-7 lead.
Morpeth’s problems increased after the interval when some sloppy tackling saw a further Hills try to take them almost out of sight.
The score was aided by some poor first up tackling by the home side, whose problems were compounded by poor decision making, an inability to catch the high ball and some aimless poorly placed kicking.
This enabled the visitors to increase their lead with a further penalty, yet the home side showed an excellent spirit despite being far from their best.
Newly signed flanker Excell scored two tries. The first came after skipper Forsythe – by far the home side’s best player – had made a punishing run and the second from Excell’s angled run.
Although they were sandwiched between another Wheatley Hills score, a Jinks final conversion enabled the home side to pick up two valuable bonus points which saw them move up the table.