Fight to the finish

Morpeth 10 Old Crossleyians 13 North One East

MORPETH finished their league programme with this exciting skirmish against the Halifax outfit, Old Crossleyians, who secured their league status in what was a close-run encounter.

It was a game that could have gone either way, as in most cases in this league, and the home side could well have come away with a great deal more than a bonus point for losing.

Despite the weather, the match was played in warm sunshine and on an exceptionally good surface.

All credit must go to the club for having the vision to utilise this facility, but also to the incredible efforts of John Dungait who consistently provides the best playing surfaces in the county.

The playing surface was tremendous, producing a game that may not have been possible elsewhere.

In the match itself, Crossleyians began the game at pace and scored an easy try and conversion after five minutes.

That seemed to spur the home side, who then took hold of the game with backs and forwards combining before Smith, who had a strong early influence on the game, crashed over for a try, converted by the able Hornby.

Crossleyians then hit back with a penalty of their own to make the score 10-7.

What followed was probably the deciding moment of the game, when intense Morpeth pressure seemingly took the home side into the lead when Bell went over near the posts – or did he?

The referee first appeared to indicate a try, then changed his mind to give a penalty to the opposition, the half-time score being 10-7 to the visitors.

The second half really belonged to the home side, who were unable to convert this pressure to points. Although they equalised the scoring with a Hornby penalty, they failed to create the chances needed to win the game as the visitors sealed victory with a late penalty and some excellent defending.

This match incorporated the past players’ lunch in which many acquaintances were re-united. They also sadly reflected upon the passing of some very prominent club stalwarts, with the club commemorating their friendship and contribution in making Morpeth Rugby Club the community it is and always will be.