York 16-16 Morpeth RFC
Morpeth made another trip to Yorkshire to play high-flying York in a top-of-the-table clash. It was a memorable visit, an excellent, hard-fought game played in absolutely the right spirit.
The first 15 minutes saw both sides sparring against each other, with Morpeth causing York problems in the set piece. It was from a York throw that flanker Dynan pounced on the loose ball, then with power and pace took the ball to within yards of the York line.Dynan’s speed and strength were a threat throughout.
Yet on 20 minutes, York took the lead when sustained pressure within Morpeth’s 22-metre area saw full back Dawes slot over a close range penalty. 3-0 York .
Morpeth had the chance to pull level on 30 minutes when Ben Hornby was wide with a penalty, but he made amends with a penalty to bring the scores level on 35 minutes.
This evenly-contested match continued with penalties still dominating against two good defences. This time it was York who took the lead with another Dawes penalty on 35 minutes.This was shortly after scrum half Elliott had secured a penalty with some tremendous defending.
The score remained 6-3 at half-time, albeit Morpeth subjected the home side to intense pressure, knocking on close to the line and then opting, unsuccessfully, to take three points where perhaps more was on offer.
The third quarter of the game saw Morpeth dominate, particularly the forwards, Hill,Moody and particularly Sandall were all dominant. Ben Sandall made some storming runs, attacking space. They were backed up by Long and Wilson, who always seems to do the right things, Craigs, both as a key ball carrier but then cleverly linking up play along with the dynamic Dynan, were ably assisted by Dawson settling back into the side after a long absence through injury, creating a balanced back row.
An early second-half penalty infringement following a York error for crossing gave Morpeth the chance to level from 22 metres but Hornby pulled the kick wide. Then on 50 minutes Morpeth got the try they deserved, an attacking line out saw Dynan make a storming run into the 22 before Sandall received the ball, saw the opening and drove over near the posts, an excellent score which Hornby converted. 10-6 Morpeth.
With the forwards’ continued dominance, Elliott spotted a gap and made a 30metre break and this dominance resulted in another Hornby three points stretching the lead to 13-6.
The game moved to a tense finale York came back into the game and from an attacking line out on 70 minutes they drove over for a converted try. 13-13.
Then on 75 minutes, Morpeth were pressing and a long miss pass would have seen York race away for a potential match-winning score. However, celebrations were short-lived with a penalty being awarded to Morpeth for offside. Hornby, who had been inconsistent with his place kicking, kept his nerve and cooly converted. 16-13.
Yet York were not to be denied and after 79 minutes Dawes drew the scores level with a final penalty to make the final score 16-16.
A really good game, the right result? Possibly, although Morpeth had enough possession and territory to win the game yet York were more direct and always posed a threat in attack. A really good advert for the league.
Scoop’s man of the match -Ben Sandall