Morpeth 36-12 Malton & Norton
It was beautiful sunny autumnal afternoon that greeted the two sides at Mitford Road with Morpeth hoping to bounce back from their first and only defeat of the season at the hands of Huddersfield YMCA, writes Colin Green.
In the end they provided, yet again, ample evidence of their strength, with a forward-dominated bonus point win against a Malton side who caused Morpeth problems with their excellent support play but only when they were able to gain possession.
It was the dominant set piece that laid the foundations, with Morpeth totally dominating both line out and scrum.
The first 25 minutes were slightly ragged with both sides missing penalties. Then scrum half Elliott opened the scoring for Morpeth, burying over from close range after another dominant scrum. Ben Hornby added the extras and was on the mark to increase the lead to 10-0 with a penalty.
The lead was increased when number 8 Matt Dawson touched down from a push over try, with Hornby again converting.
This made the half-time score 17-0.
Malton then scored an excellent try at the beginning of the second half where some excellent enterprise and no little skill saw them run the ball out from their own line.
Yet Morpeth restored their dominance when, again from another surging scrum, Liam Allen touched down out wide.
Back came Malton with another length-of-the-field attack, forcing a penalty which was quickly taken for another fine score.
Then Dawson again, with almost a carbon copy of his first effort, saw the home side secure a bonus point try which Hornby again converted for 29-12.
As the game drew to a close, Ward set off from a quickly taken penalty to score a complete individual try beating several players to touch down wide out which Hornby converted with some aplomb.
This was an important Morpeth victory, the result of forward dominance, yet Malton deserved credit for their enterprise, and probably through necessity, showed a willingness to play from anywhere, causing problems against a defence which appeared fragile at times.
The next month looks really interesting, a County Cup semi-final against local rivals Alnwick, followed by Percy Park and West Leeds (away) then Penrith