Morpeth lose top of table clash at Driffield

Morpeth 55 Consett 7
Morpeth 55 Consett 7

Driffield 27-19 Morpeth RFC

Morpeth made the long trip to East Yorkshire to take on Driffield in a top of the table encounter on Saturday, writes Colin Green.

Driffield have been making excellent progress up the league in recent weeks following a slow start.

For Morpeth it resulted in only their second league defeat of the season with no bonus point to take out of the match.

Yet both sides should be proud of the entertainment served up in a fine match that was an absolute credit to both sides.

Both sets of players gave their all and the game was played in excellent spirit.

Make no doubt about it Driffield thoroughly deserved the victory they were simply the better team on the day,yet there was excitement to the end and Morpeth lacked nothing in commitment and skill,coming close to gaining something from the match when they looked dead and buried.

Ultimately they lost because unusually, Morpeth defended badly at crucial times with Driffield having that extra class wideout.

Morpeth started the game, yet their fragility was immediately evident, and haunted them throughout, when they dropped off three first up tackles allowing Driffield to gain possession and territory culminating in an easy three point penalty.

Morpeth came back into the game with a superb Hornby break in heavy traffic, which saw Liam Allen go close.Then with Sandall, Williamson and Craigs all running hard, Morpeth put the home side under severe pressure, but were unable to convert this to points on the scoreboard.

Then Driffield, from an attacking scrum, again took advantage of missed tackles to score the first converted try, making it 10-0 to Driffield on 20 minutes.

With no forward dominance for either side the Driffield backs carried the greater threat.Yet Morpeth stormed back into the game with a try from an excellent attacking line out, prop Sandall touching down when he was in danger of going over the dead ball line.

The next highlight was another mazy Hornby break, having the vision and skill to dummy his way through.

With the score at 10-5 Morpeth were well on top, as the match ended for half-time when they were very close to the Driffield line, with Sandall again to the fore. A score at that stage may well have been match changing.

However, just eight minutes into the second half it looked game over for the Mitford Road side as Driffield scored two good tries with skill and pace, both scores coming from quick recycled possession and a fair amount of class from their outside backs - 22-5 to Driffield.

Morpeth came back again, an excellent Craigs break and hand on to Hornby who went over near the posts, allowing for the conversion to make it 22-12.

The scoring just kept on coming, another Driffield try made it 27-12 on 55 minutes, before Jonny Ward scored an excellent individual effort, beating players with an excellent 30m run making the score 27-19 to Driffield

Man of the match was Ben Sandall.