Morpeth lose away to Wirral

WIRRAL 54MORPETH RFC 11Morpeth 1sts were on the receiving end when they travelled to Liverpool on Saturday to face Wirral in a bottom of the table clash.

Tuesday, 14th January 2020, 6:17 pm
Updated Tuesday, 4th February 2020, 12:47 pm
Action from Saturday's game.

The heavy 54-11 defeat leaves the Northumbrians second from bottom of the table on 22 points, 11 ahead of basement side Ilkley and ten behind a trio of sides on 32, including Rossendale, local rivals Alnwick and Wirral, who will be welcome of their victory.

Both teams went into the match knowing it was a must-win fixture if they wanted to avoid the relegation dog-fight as the season enters it’s final stages.

Three of the home players came upon a car crash on the way to the game and one of them, a doctor, had to give CPR until the paramedics arrived.

It wasn’t the ideal preparation for the game, and once play got underway, with the wind advantage, Morpeth kicked two early penalties courtesy of Jake McKay to give the visitors a 0-6 lead.

But the visitors couldn’t capitalise on their good start and in the eighth minute Wirral responded and following a break on the blind side, Craig Harvey crossed in the corner and James Annetts made the conversion to put the home side 7-6 in front.

Annetts went on to enjoy a good day with the boot, kicking a further seven attempts.

Morpeth then had Josh Phillips sin-binned for a yellow card offence, but despite being a man down they went over from a 5m line-out, the conversion was missed but they were back in front at 7-11.

It was the response Morpeth had been hoping for, but again the home side replied almost immediately through Chris Crowley who went over for the score., The conversion was added for 14-11 but just before half time, when it looked as if the teams were going to go in just three points apart, Wirral went over again, with Matt Loon touching down for 19-11 at the break.

Morpeth made a bright start to the second half and enjoyed a lot of possession and territory, at one point being adjudged to be held up as they went over the line.

Wirral weathered the storm and gradually worked their way up-field. They declined a penalty, opting for a line-out, and from the resulting play Paul Lewis went over in the corner for the bonus point score (26-11).

This was the catalyst for Wirral to open up the game and Annetts broke clear to score, the conversion extending the lead to 33-11.

Sam Broadbent then went over in the corner before Hayden Long took the ball at speed and crashed over near the posts as the game started to run away from the visitors at 47-11.

In the final minute the home side broke the half century barrier when Loon crossed for his second try of the afternoon, Annett’s conversion completing the scoring for the afternoon.

Overall, not the best of days at the office for the Highwaymen. With nine games still to go, the season is far from over, but with only four wins (two at home and two away) to their credit from 17 games played so far, it’s easy to see that victories are required if they are to climb away from the foot of the table.

This Saturday (February 8) they have a home game against Billingham, but this will be another tough fixture as they currently sit fourth in the table on 62 points and are just four points behind leaders Macclesfield.