Morpeth lose in derby clash
MORPETH RFC 8ALNWICK 17With both sides involved in a struggle to maintain their North Premier League status this was a crucial encounter.This, together with the long rivalry between the two sides attracted a bumper crowd to Mitford Road when both teams took the field, on a clear but cold January Saturday.
Although the game itself was never a classic, Alnwick were fully deserving of their victory despite a spirited Morpeth side, who threatened for periods but were ultimately outdone by their well organised and more enterprising opposition.
It was Alnwick who dominated the early stages and took the lead on 10 minutes, when scrum half Moralee, the classiest player on view, broke blind on a stunning run that eventually won his side an attacking line out from where Alnwick rumbled over for a converted score.0-7.
Morpeth then got a foothold in the game, when the Morpeth back row of Williams,Dynan and Craigs threatened the home defence who conceded a penalty that Jake McKay confidently converted from some 30m for 3-7.
The score gave the home side confidence with right wing Sam Hornby cooly taking a misguided Alnwick kick then setting off on a clever run.
Alnwick then turned the screw as the match moved towards the interval running through several phases close to Morpeth's line where a well organised, determined home defence frantically repelled several attacking phases.
Halftime score 3-7.
Morpeth began the second half kicking towards the changing rooms and were the most prominent side immediately after the interval. The pressure was rewarded on 50 minutes when from an attacking line out, second row Millington crashed over making it 8-7 .
Immediately from the restart a cardinal Morpeth error allowed Alnwick a penalty chance which was squandered. The restart had given an opportunity for the home side, now in the lead,to clear their lines and get straight back into the opposition half, but that had disappeared without trace. Although that penalty was missed this seemed to galvanise an Alnwick side continually prompted by Moralee.
On 58 minutes Alnwick took the lead when numerous phases and then quick hands gave left wing Jonny Burn the chance to run clear and touchdown wide out for 8-12.
Alnwick were now on top as Morpeth's Millington was very fortunate just to escape with a sinbinning after offending close on the home 22m line.
It was now some excellent defending from 14 man Morpeth, before on 70 minutes Moralee sealed victory after some extended phases of play released him with time and space to beat the last defender and score as the board ticked over to 8-17.
The game ended with Morpeth restored to 15 players camped in Alnwick's half in a determined to win a bonus point, but it was not to be and the best side won on the day.
Alnwick, 12th, move on to 27 points in the league table, with Morpeth 13th on 21.
Dave Routledge, much respected past member of both clubs, presented the ‘man of the match’ trophy Alnwick's Peter Moralee.
Scoops Morpeth man of the match – Cole Wilson.
There is no Morpeth first team fixture arranged for this weekend.