1st XV 15-17 West Hartlepool

Firstly, and most importantly congratulations to the Reivers with their magnificent victory in the Senior Shield Cup final.

A significant result and congrats to all the team and due reward for dedication of Chris Pringle and Paul Jackson for their organisation and commitment with the Reivers.

 

1st XV 15-17 West Hartlepool

 

A game of 2 halves, often a cliché used, but never more true when Morpeth lost a game they seemingly had full control when they lost with a final, highly unlikely, but nevertheless excellent conversion from the touchline, against promotion chasing West Hartlepool who showed excellent commitment in coming back from a 15-point deficit.

Morpeth kicked off towards the clubhouse and soon took command, when after 10 minutes Elliott broke from a ruck some 40 metres out, handed onto Phillips who made good ground into West's 22 before patient recycling of possession saw Dawson crash over from close range, Hornby adding the conversion.

This lead was increased to 10 points, when again Phillips made good ground forcing an error from which Hornby slotted over the 3-point penalty.

Morpeth were well on top in the first half, thoroughly deserving their 10-point advantage with West being unable to get a foothold in the game. The set pieces of lineout and scrum were sound and with the returning Brown always offering an attacking threat.

This was reversed in the second half when the Tessiders assumed dominance playing an open brand of rugby which ultimately the home side could not prevent or compete with.

West opened the first period of the second half with constant pressure with the home side defending stoutly. Then against the run of play Morpeth scored an excellent try. A very good lineout saw another sniping Elliott break, handing onto Brown, whose superbly timed pass saw Ward, still with a lot to do, but a feint inwards and outward swerve saw the winger scoring wide out making the score 15-0 in Morpeth's favour.

Immediately from the restart, lack of concentration, gave West the opportunity to get back in the match, this was crucial both in terms of points and motivation. At 15-5 and with 20 minutes to go it was still anyone's game.

West were now in a different gear, backs and forwards combining with a fluency that emphasised their high league position. Morpeth were struggling.

They reduced the deficit to 5 points with 5 minutes to go, and when they went over with the last play of the game, albeit in somewhat controversial circumstances with more than a hint of a knock on in both the build-up and at the point of scoring.

That said it should not deflect on how good West played, particularly in the second half, showing a commitment and spirit that saw them probably worthy winners. The winning conversion under any circumstance was cracking kick, particularly after missing 2 previous more simple conversions.

Good Morpeth performances from Mike Craigs, Karl Campbell, Jack Elliott, and Morpeth man of the match, James Phillips whose work rate was a miss when he left the field.

Nevertheless, this was a marvellous afternoon at “the club" with the Past Players Lunch a sell-out, thanks to Dick Dungait and Paul Thornton for their organisation.

The pitch was, as it now always is superb thanks to the work of John Dungait.

We are truly indebted to the very many volunteers who give freely of their time to keep and maintain the club in rude health.