Wheatley Hills 22-12 1st XV PDF Print E-mail


Morpeth made the journey to Wheatley Hills with a strong enough squad but as usual for an away trip to Yorkshire,for a multitude of reasons,the squad showed 6 changes from the week before.Paul Wonders,Richie Stephenson,Andy Duggan were welcomed in to the fold and this game also saw the return from injury of 1st XV Captain Rory Morrison.

Also veteran John Walton came on to the bench with the now cutomary 7pm phonecall on a Friday night for an away game- something John has fortunately,for the Club,accepted for the last 16 seasons - this showing again his commitment to the Club.

The conditions were near perfect for rugby and a good competitve game was had by all in front of a decent home crowd but the numbers were obviously affected by the local Doncaster Races being on. Morpeth played in to the sun for the first half and weathered an early onslaught by Wheatley and then when they entered the opposition half they pressured and won a penalty that Phillips missed with a kick at goal.Then after a couple of plays the homeside had a scrum in their own 22 which they heeled but then scrum half Ben Hornby,who was outstanding all afternoon,pounced on the loose ball that came out of the scrum and somehow he wriggled through the home defence to touch down. Phillips then converted with a much harder kick than before to give Morpeth a 7-0 lead.

Wheatley Hills then dominated play which resulted with Skipper Morrison being lost to the "bin" after a few team offences and eventually they got their just reward with a converted try 7-7 and then right on the stroke of half time they kicked a penalty to take the lead 10-7.

The away side turned around at half time playing down towards the Clubhouse and were hopeful of causing Wheatley problems however the home side then had more sustained pressure which resulted in another converted try to extend their lead to 17-7. Morpeth then showed a lot of grit and were determined to gain at least a losing bonus point - any points gained in Yorkshire are always hard fought for and very welcome. Phillips had a long range penalty kick that was just wide but they continued to cause the opposition problems,however a few lost lineout balls relieved the pressure on the home side.

All the players,of this young team, "stepped up" at this point in the second half-notably18 year old openside Craig Donnelly improved as the game went on as did right winger Richie Stephenson. Paul Wonders who was playing at fly half for the first time for the 1st XV gave it his all as did play anywhere Mickey Craigs who did nothing wrong at 12.

Morpeth then got back in to the game with Wheatley conceding a number of penalties - hooker Hill then ran a penalty and then Duggan was driven over by his fellow forwards,Phillips then missed the conversion 17-12 to Wheatley with approximately 4 minutes left. Wheatley were wanting to close the game out and were aided when Morpeth gave a penalty away around their own 10 yard line,after blindside flanker Duggan had picked up the opposing number 9 and not knowing quite what to do,as the player would not let go of the ball,let go of the player.

Wheatley kicked to the corner and mauled over from the lineout to take the final score to 22-12 - this taking the game beyond Morpeth's reach and also no losing bonus point to be gained.

This was a spirited performance by the youthful team and it will do none of the players any harm with a bit of belief now re-entering the team. Home to Sheffield next Saturday with only 5 league games left and a County Cup Final on Wednesday 3rd of April.


Also to say tickets are now on sale for Morpeth's inaugural Beer Festival at the Club,bin21 Morpeth and Green (Agriculture) Co,Coopies Lane,Morpeth.


Last Updated ( Sunday, 03 March 2013 )
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