Positive signs in cup defeat

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Percy Park 44 Morpeth 27

Morpeth’s new season got under way when they faced Percy Park in the county cup quarter-final.

This match on a windy evening on the coast was an entertaining affair that did the competition great credit.

First team new boys Birch and Rees were impressive throughout and they combined for an early score for the red and whites. Birch converted Rees’s debut effort.

Five minutes later, Park hit back with a score of their own, then Birch kicked over a penalty to make the score 10-5 to Morpeth.

But the hosts then showed their class with two quick scores to take a lead they never gave up.

Grieve, with an interception, reduced the deficit to 19-17 as Birch again added the points.

Back came Park as the entertainment continued with a further penalty.

The visitors then created tremendous pressure on the home defence with Morrison and Forsythe both going close as half-time came closer, yet somewhat against the run of play a wayward kick saw Park counter-attack and score a converted try.

Another Birch penalty put Morpeth back on track early in the second half, but the home side again took advantage of mistakes to score a further converted try.

The Mitford Road Men were not to be outdone and really took the game to their opponents, with skipper Hill crashing over for a try after excellent sustained pressure and a Phillips break.

But back came Park and they sealed the game with a converted try and penalty.

Morpeth can take great heart from this display. Forsythe, Morrison and Hill were always to the fore and Lynn came into the game more and more in the second half.

As ever, it will be the league form that determines the season’s success and on this display, Morpeth should look forward with confidence.

They start their league campaign at home to Consett. Kick-off is 3pm.

Other forthcoming fixtures are as follows – Saturday, September 13: Blyth (A); Saturday, September 20: Guisborough (H); Saturday, September 27: Hartlepool Rovers (A); Saturday, October 4: Medicals (H); Saturday, October 11: Gosforth (H); Saturday, October 18: Novocastrians (A); Saturday, October 25: Ryton (H); Saturday, November 1: Stockton (A).