Old Brodleians 23 Morpeth 25 North One East
DID this game have everything? It just about did. This was a tight relegation dog-fight – make no bones about it – at the business end of the season, and Morpeth came up trumps, just and only just.
Prior to this game Morpeth were two points clear of Brods and a further point clear of Crossleyians with two games remaining. Now, going into the last match, Morpeth are all but mathematically safe with this crucial win.
The game was played in interesting conditions a fairly strong wind favouring the team playing up the Brods’ slope. Morpeth played with the wind but against the slope in the first half when they took an early lead with a Jinks penalty. Inside 15 minutes that lead was lost when from a short attacking line-out that caused Morpeth problems all game Brods crashed over and an excellent conversion saw them take a 7-3 lead.
The home side were then rocked when backs and forwards combined.
With a clever kick to the corner, Thornton saw Hornby grab a good bounce to dive over, Jinks with an outstanding conversion made it 10-7 to the visitors. The half was not over when Brods brought the scores level at 10 points each.
The second half started disastrously for Morpeth with a Brods try and conversion to take the score to 17-10.
Then penalties were swapped by both sides to take the score to 20-13. Then the drama with prop Campbell becoming the hero of the hour.
Firstly the visitors led by the outstanding Mooney and skipper Forsythe put pressure on the home side. Armstrong went close on two occasions and although with the line begging and it seemed the opportunity had gone Campbell gathered the ball with still a lot to do and burrowed over, Jinks adding the points, making the score 20-20 going into the last minutes.
Brods had a penalty which hit the posts and Thornton reacted quickly to clear the danger. They then converted a penalty to make the score 23-20. The last play started deep in Morpeth territory.
This was undoubtedly the most important passage of play in the whole season that took patience, determination and no little skill with the whole team involved.
In the end Campbell was again available to crash over. Game over and match won.
Promotion and relegation are won and lost in the most narrow of margins and never could this be illustrated more so than in this match. That is the total attraction of playing and watching sport.
Brods face a difficult match at Northern this afternoon while Morpeth can look with relish at the prospect of Crossleyians visiting Mitford Road at the past players lunch.
While this has been a difficult season in a highly-competitive league, the spirit of the team shone throughout and no more so in deepest darkest Halifax with this superb victory.