Morpeth Ladies 18 Darlington Ladies 0
MORPETH Ladies defied the wind, rain and cold conditions to secure an impressive victory over Darlington Ladies at Mitford Road.
A distance of around 50 miles between the clubs would not normally constitute a derby. However, for these two sides in the RFUW North 2 League this was their local derby.
The game started as a battle between the two sets of forwards and looked ominous for the home side when the visitors’ powerful pack gained the upper hand from the first couple of scrums.
However, Darlington struggled to control a slippery ball in the first half and Morpeth backs were able to make some adventurous breaks to set up the first score.
A poor kick from the visitors was picked by Purvis, who used the support well to break 30 metres into the Darlington half with support available from Severs to be tackled five metres short, however, the ever-reliable Hall was there to score the first try after 20 minutes.
This try was quickly followed by another break from Purvis, who found the flying McPearson in space, only to be tackled inches short of the try-line. Tipping was able to provide the required height and reach to take the score to 10-0.
The half-time talk from the Morpeth coaches was around keeping the ball available for the backs to attack when possible and this again proved fruitful when the number eight Charlotte Smith found namesake Louise Smith in space and her break resulted in a penalty under the posts, which Hall converted to keep the scoreboard ticking over.
The game then drifted back into a defence and forward battle and the entire Morpeth pack met the challenge full on and never took a backward step. Darlington deserve credit for sticking to their game plan of using a good set of forwards to power over the ball. Their full-back was also outstanding in defence and kept them in the game with some great one-on-one tackles.
With only 10 minutes remaining and after some confusion from a penalty and subsequent injury to Hall, the final score of the game came from a well-worked set-piece.
Aleathea Smith continued her great performance at hooker to find Raven at the line-out and set up a powerful drive. This allowed the platform for Taylor to identify a space in the defence and chase in from 10 yards.
If it had been any further out, her legs might have given way after a playing a full game of football for Morpeth beforehand.
Morpeth Ladies: Purvis, McPearson, Tipping , Smith (L), Severs, Hall, Taylor, Williams, Smith (A), Marshall, Muter, Hull, Raven, Smith (C). Subs: Parkinson, James. Player-of-the-match: A Smith.