All square in the wind

Gosforth 20 Morpeth 20 Durham and Northumberland, Division One

On a blustery day and firm conditions under foot, Morpeth failed to gain the maximum points to maintain their top-of-the-league status.

Looking back on the match, a draw was a fair result with neither side doing enough to win.

Morpeth will be left literally kicking themselves by refusing to take three points on offer.

They had plenty of possession in the opening ten minutes.

After 12 minutes, a chip ahead coupled with the bounce of the ball gave Gosforth a deserved seven-point advantage.

This was increased to 10 points with a penalty, before a Defty sin-binning left Morpeth really on the back foot. Further damage was caused when poor tackling, after a break in the centre, allowed Gosforth to increase their lead (15-0).

This lead was reduced when, almost for the first time in the half, Morpeth’s pick-and-drive against the wind proved an effective tactic, with Denton going over.

This impetus was greatly helped due to the introduction of Tim Michie, replacing his brother Simon through injury.

He gave the Morpeth pack some impetus in a lacklustre first-half display.

With the elements in their favour, Morpeth started on the attack with left-wing Rogers rounding his man and scoring in the corner to make the score 15-10.

Almost immediately, Gosforth scored a try of their own – a poor Morpeth restart allowed them to obtain a quickly-taken penalty to score.

The home side led 20-10 with 30 minutes still to play.

A set-play penalty move close to the Gosforth line saw skipper Hill roll over for a try to make it 20-15.

Further excitement was to follow when Manley scored out wide, showing good pace after a forceful Thornton run. It was 20-20 with everything to play for.

Morpeth laid siege to the Gosforth line and were awarded two penalties in quick succession beneath the posts, approximately five metres out and with 10 minutes remaining.

For some unknown reason, the visitors tried to run both penalties, failing to score in both instances and spurning the easy opportunity of three points, which ultimately would likely have won the game.

While a draw was a fair reflection of the game against a hard-working Gosforth outfit, it will be remembered by all those present for the decision not to take the points on offer.