Ryton 24 Morpeth 41 Durham and Northumberland, Division One
This was a highly entertaining encounter as Morpeth secured another bonus point victory, maintaining the pressure at the top of the league, against a hard-working Ryton outfit.
The away side got off to the best possible start when Manley scored after strong running from flanker Denton.
After 10 minutes, Ryton came straight back into the game when, from an attacking line-out, they rumbled over out wide and took the lead with an excellent touchline conversion.
It was not long before Morpeth took back the initiative when Brown went over in the corner after a Morrison pick up and good hands from Phillips. Brown’s successful conversion gave his side a 12-7 lead.
Then the game turned again when from an attacking scrum, a missed tackle allowed the hosts to score near the posts.
At this point, the visitors were struggling in set play, with line-outs being a particular problem, nevertheless they re-took the lead when Thornton pounced on a home error to race over at the posts, giving Brown a simple conversion.
Morpeth increased their lead with some excellent handling and a sublime piece of skill by full back Brown, picking up off his toes at full speed to send Manley over for his second try to make the score 24-14 at half time.
Ten minutes into the second half, another Ryton attacking line-out caused Morpeth to concede again and the Northumberland side’s lead was reduced to five points.
But Morpeth stood firm and continued to play in a positive vein. They were rewarded with a Brown penalty, an astute decision taking the score out of immediate reach for the home side. Skipper Hill, with some quick thinking, went over from close range, with Brown converting the try (34-19 to Morpeth).
Manley then expertly rounded off another piece of good handling to make it an excellent hat-trick for the promising winger. This score was also converted by Brown.
Ryton were not done as an attacking force and they scored following a line-out drive to end this really good encounter.