Last gasp penalty gives Morpeth the spoils

MORPETH RFC 17WIRRAL 16Morpeth secured their second league win of the season in what proved to be a disappointing display against a Wirral side who could feel themselves unfortunate not to come away with more than a single bonus point.

Wednesday, 18th September 2019, 07:34 am
Updated Wednesday, 9th October 2019, 10:51 am
Action from Morpeth v Wirral. Picture by Steve Miller.

The fact that the victory came by way of a long range penalty in the dying minutes speaks volumes.

Yet the match started so brightly for the home side, a good scrum in centre field on the halfway mark, saw the 8 to 9 axis working well to set winger Tait free. Tait made good ground to then hand on to full back Telford who raced over for an excellent unconverted try. 5-0 Morpeth after two minutes.

Wirral missed two penalty attempts, how costly that was to prove to be at the end of the game. By comparison, Ben Hornby kicked two for Morpeth for an 11-0 lead after 25 minutes.

Good home defence couldn't prevent Wirral getting on the scoreboard when on 28 minutes they converted a penalty for 11-3.

Morpeth now stepped up a gear, but missed two scoring opportunities when first Hornby, then scrum half Elliott, both made breaks.

Then on 40 minutes a scrum against the head saw Hornby converting another penalty for a 14-3 half-time lead.

The second half saw Wirral come immediately back into the game as the home side's discipline fell away, conceding penalty after penalty, which allowed the visitors to reduce the deficit to 14-9, as well as a sinbinning for the influential Josh Williams.

Basic plays were causing the home side problems, not straight at the line out followed by a penalty at scrum time increased their frustration as Wirral dominated possession.

A storming Cole Wilson run, who featured throughout, did provide some respite. But as the pressure mounted on Morpeth: prop Dickinson became their second sinbinning and something had to give, as Wirral got their just rewards with their second row crashing over for a converted score, giving them a 14-16 lead as the game moved into the final minutes.

One final Morpeth attack, a penalty chance, a long way out, but Hornby had the skill and the composure, to slot it over, to give the home side the spoils.