Big victory as Morpeth rugby beat league leaders Driffield

Morpeth RFC 31Driffield 18Morpeth entertained Driffield, the current league leaders at Mitford Road, on a glorious sunny afternoon, in what was to be an excellent outing, particularly if you were a home supporter.

By Keith Hamblin
Monday, 24th January 2022, 3:35 pm

Unusually, having won the toss, the home captain, Jack Elliott, elected to play towards the clubhouse and initially this looked a dubious decision when Driffield took the lead with a penalty by fly half Watts.

This was soon cancelled out by Jake McKay, and it was soon nip and tuck with another penalty from either side, until some super play by the home side led to a score by Jonny Ward in the right-hand corner. It was good to see veteran flanker, Burnham back in the side after recovery from a broken arm sustained early in the season and both he and No. 8 Williams both made impact in the early exchanges. Morpeth probably should have scored again soon after but spurned a good chance, however it was closely followed by a McKay penalty.

Then just before half-time, after some intense pressure from Driffield, a side that was well organised and combative throughout, they scored again through left wing Ben Blacker, leaving the score at half time 14-11 to the home side.

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Despite playing up the hill and into the wind, the home side started the second half well with a powerful run by Ward, which was then followed by a brilliant piece of play from full back Telford, who hoisted an up and under from just outside his own 22, collected and ran in from 50 metres to score. This was again converted by McKay. Driffield then again attacked the Morpeth line and despite heroic defence, they scored through replacement Robinson under the posts, which was converted, to make the score 21-18.

Back came the home side with a McKay penalty and then the coup de gras was another great score from Telford, after a fantastic incursion from Sam Hornby, which again McKay converted. Despite the fact the home side lineout was a problem, the side buckled down, showed great character and with the scrum dominant were worthy winners 31-18.

This was the best performance from the home side this season, in particular the defence, led by Elliott, and with huge efforts by the whole side, including Donnelly, Sandall, Grieve, both Hornby’s and Manley.