Morpeth RFC 29-7 Percy Park
Morpeth returned to winning ways with a hard fought victory against near rivals Percy Park in cold and damp conditions at Mitford Road.
It would be fair to say that Morpeth dominated possession but were unable to turn territory into points,in a match sponsored by the Club of 1975, bringing back players, members and guests of the never to be forgotten halcyon days of John Player Cup fame.
The side had a more familiar look about it, with Elliott and Tait returning to the back line.
Yet it was Park who stunned the home side with a score inside the first five minutes. An initial mistake from the kick-off brought unwanted pressure and an attacking Park line out, from where the stand off produced a dummy scissors to breach a static defence, for a converted try - 7-0 to Park.
There then followed constant Morpeth pressure with a series of 5m scrums, Moody, Hill and Sandall creating increasing pressure on the opposition.
Both Ben Hornby and Craigs were halted as the tryline beckoned. The only score was a Hornby penalty, meagre return for the chances and possession.
Park had defended really well throughout this period but it was 7-3 after 20 minutes .
The match then struggled to ignite despite the endeavour of both sides in the cold damp conditions, with the home side particularly struggling in the line out.
Then the second half started with a bang with two quick Morpeth scores, both instigated by Sam Hornby who, due to Robinson’s injury, had moved to centre. First an outside break saw him hand on for fellow centre Tait to go over. Soon after, another Sam Hornby initial break, linking with Ward, who beat several men, to again hand on to Tait who repeated another touch down.
Morpeth had taken the lead 15-7 with 10 minutes of the second half over, and for once they had turned possession into points.
Further was to follow, successive push-over scrums were illegally prevented and the referee awarded a penalty try taking the score to 22-7.
Then finally, a sniping Elliott break, after further forward domination, saw Ward scythe through for a final score for Hornby to convert for an all important bonus point try and a final score of 29-7.
This was a good win for Morpeth, not the most exhilarating performance, but a bonus point victory was very satisfying. Hornby’s excellent early breaks in the second half put them on their way, but on a day of forward dominance, Josh Williams got through a hard shift, not just in ball carrying but also strong defence.
Man of the match was Josh Williams.
* The reivers won 0-32 away tio Percy Park 2nds with tries from Andy gayner, Jonny Lishman, Archie Suinger, Adam Grieve and Jake Stevenson. Cam Walker kicked two conversions and a penalty.
The Colts won 17-5 at home to Billingham Colts with a try each for Ryan Hope and Josh McKay, with Robbie Nash kicking one conversion and a penalty.
The Stags won 32-12 at home to a Northern XV with Henry Rank running in three tries, David Tuite two and Henry Rank one.