Morpeth Colts 21 Billingham Colts 12
MORPETH were victorious in league action at home to last season’s league champions Billingham.
Within the first minute, the hosts got themselves into the opposition 22, picking up three points from the boot of centre Andy Bradley following a penalty for an infringement at a ruck.
The visitors took the re-start and the Mitford Road youngsters again took the game to them, but Billingham managed to regain possession and exert some pressure of their own, getting deep into the Morpeth half.
The home side defended well and managed to turn the ball over, turning defence into attack through the back three of Jonas, Rees and Trundley, and they got deep into the Teesside team’s half.
With the pack keeping possession and gaining ground through short pick-and-drives, they found themselves inches from the try-line and Under 16 player Archie Singer finished the job with a strong drive for the line. Bradley added the extras to make it 10-0 to Morpeth.
The hosts continued to be on the front foot and they were on the scoresheet again on 19 minutes when they were awarded a penalty just outside the visitors’ 22. Bradley stepped up to kick the ball between the posts.
Billingham stepped up their game after the restart and regained possession when Morpeth knocked on while on the attack in the opposition half.
The away side kept the ball well and a scoring opportunity came for the visiting right winger, who evaded one tackle and was sure to score had it not been for the inch-perfect, perfectly-timed tackle of full-back Jonas, who not only stopped him, but took him into touch to make it a Morpeth throw at the line-out.
The Mitford Road side were soon back on the attack and worked their way into the opposition 22. Billingham were then penalised for offside.
The ball was kicked for touch, giving the home side a line-out five metres out, from which Rank scored. With the conversion missed it was 18-0 and that is how the half ended.
Morpeth almost increased their lead five minutes into the second half when Denton took a pass from Bullock and made a charge for the line.
He showed great strength and was brought down just short, but still managed to get the ball down on the line, however, the referee judged that he made a double movement so the try was disallowed.
Another chance came when scrum-half House picked up from a ruck and made a darting run, but he was held up just short. The ball squirted out of the ruck and Billingham managed to clear their lines.
The visitors started to play with some purpose and tested the home defence, but it stood up to the task well.
Morpeth regained the ball and started to threaten again, getting into the opposition 22. They were awarded a penalty when Billingham were adjudged to have handled in a ruck right under the posts, giving Thompson an easy kick for three points (21-0).
What followed was Billingham’s best phase of the match – they managed to put together a few phases and keep the ball, getting it wide to score a converted try.
Three minutes later, the away side notched up their second try. This time the conversion was missed.
They could have scored again before the end, but they knocked on, so the final score was 21-12 to Morpeth.