Morpeth have to settle for away draw

Morpeth 55 Consett 7
Morpeth 55 Consett 7

West Leeds 14-14 Morpeth RFC

Points won or points lost, would be the discussions at the end of a close and exciting encounter when Morpeth made the long journey to Yorkshire taking on the newly promoted West Leeds outfit in North East One.

Morpeth have also made a more than sound start to their campaign,a couple of points ahead of today’s rivals, in second place. A close encounter was promised and a close encounter was delivered.

Morpeth opened the scoring ,basically against the run of play and also perhaps fortuitously as West were attacking when Ben Hornby, playing at outside centre intercepted, a skill that he performs consistently. He then managed to win the ensuing foot race for an unconverted try try after 14 minutes.

Throughout the game Morpeth’s defence was of the highest quality,and while it is always difficult to pick out individuals, mention needs to be made of James Phillips, Josh Williams and Jack Elliott, who were always to the fore.

Whilst there was a strong breeze throughout, it did not prevent West Leeds open style of play,which was rewarded with a penalty on 30 minutes, albeit Hornby restored the points advantage with a Morpeth penalty on 33 minutes, 8-3 in Morpeth’s favour.

Then for the second week running, almost on the stroke of halftime Richie Stephenson was sinbinned for a deliberate knock on which allowed West to cut the lead to three points from the subsequent penalty.

The second half was as close as the second as Morpeth’s excellently organized defence, coupled with an ability to take their chances when offered,saw Phillips, first with a drop goal and then Hornby with a penalty increase the lead for the Mitford Road outfit to 14-6 going into the final 10 minutes.

Yet to their immense credit West Leeds came back with an unconverted try on 72 minutes, and then after Morpeth were penalised, a converted penalty meant the points were shared 14-14.