West Hartlepool 36 Morpeth 22
MORPETH travelled to Hartlepool buoyed by last week’s encouraging performance against Wheatley Hills, but ultimately they came unstuck against the Teessiders who thoroughly deserved their victory.
Morpeth never gave up and halfway into the second half looked as though they could gain at least a bonus point.
The visitors took the early initiative when they stole a scrum against the head, turning it into an attacking platform where a penalty was conceded and Jinks added the three points.
That was almost the total of Morpeth’s efforts for the rest of the half, as the set-piece began to crumble and West played with some enterprise.
Two quick tries together with Phillips sin-binned put Morpeth well and truly on the back foot, worse was to follow when Carmichael was also yellow-carded and not surprisingly a push-over try ensued for the home side, who were now in total control.
To their credit, Morpeth came back with a Jinks penalty only to concede another try just on the stroke of half-time making the score 24-6.
The second half began with two more Jinks efforts, one being struck from some 45 metres, an excellent effort.
Then a Tait break gave Jinks another opportunity on 55 minutes to further reduce the deficit, making it 24-15.
West were just starting to be concerned, lifting the visitors’ hopes. But it was not to be and set-piece domination told in a weakened front five from Morpeth as the home side drew further away with two more tries before some enterprising back play saw Hornby gallop over.
Morpeth can take some credit sticking at their task, and in difficult circumstances, with both half-backs and skipper Morrison performing well when for much of the game they were going backwards. Both wingers Turner and Tait had their moments, showing good promise.
Next week sees Morpeth return to Mitford Road where they take on league new boys Huddersfield YMCA.
It is also noted that by the time this report goes to print, Andy Morgan and his wife Claire hopefully will have safely completed their John O’Groats to Ponteland bike ride in aid of Prostate Cancer Research. Andy is the son of past club president Bill Morgan. Donations to the Urology and Oncology Fund at the RVI. Visit www.pedallingfor prostate.co.uk