Morpeth 29 Hartlepool Rovers 7 Durham and Northumberland, Division One
Morpeth started off their home programme with an eventful but nevertheless comfortable victory against a spirited Rovers outfit in Arctic conditions at Mitford Road.
It was primarily a settled side that took the field on a pitch in remarkably good condition considering the recent weather.
The home side started with a bang and in the first five minutes an attacking line-out saw skipper Hill rumble over from close range for an unconverted score.
The lead was increased when Keiran Brown showed good pace after both backs and forwards combined, and the youngster, still with plenty to do, showed good pace by racing over and scoring near the posts for a try which he converted.
Morpeth continued to impress, despite the weather when Thornton, breaking from full-back, linked with Phillips and then Defty as the flanker skated over for another unconverted try, for 19-0 at half-time to the home side.
It seemed to get colder by the minute when the second half got under way, but Defty was again on the mark when immediately from the restart he charged down a kick and followed up to score diving on the ball like a cod piercing the water.
Rovers refused to lie down and for the first time created pressure with a succession of forward drives leading to a converted try.
The game ended in the gathering gloom as players switched pitches with a Rovers injury causing a long delay.
However, it was skipper Hill who rounded off the scoring with a final try to give Morpeth a comfortable 29-7 victory.
This was another bonus point win for the home side who remain in top spot, but only just, there can be no room for errors in a highly competitive league.
Yet it was a game strewn with unforced errors predominantly brought about due to the very difficult conditions.