Driffield Colts 31 Morpeth Colts 54
SATURDAY saw Morpeth Colts making the much-anticipated away trip with the senior first team to Driffield.
However, because of many last-minute cry-offs, only 10 of a squad of 34 were travelling, with two Under 16s.
Luckily, within the spirit of giving young men as much opportunity as possible to play rugby, the home side were able to lend four forwards to the visiting Northumbrians.
The home side got the game under way, but the ball failed to go the required 10 metres, giving Morpeth an attacking scrum on the half-way line.
The ball went through several phases, before Bradley darted through the smallest of gaps and ran for the line, scoring under the posts after only three minutes played, a dream start to the game. Brown kicked the conversion making it 7-0 to Morpeth.
After the restart, the visitors continued to play with real passion and determination with forwards securing good ball for the backs.
The next try came 10 minutes after the first. With Brown sniffing a gap, he dummied the defence and accelerated for the line, before dummying again and running into score (0-14).
Driffield never gave up and now started to show that they could play too, managing to turn the ball over from the kick-off and getting their first try on 18 minutes for 14-7.
From the restart, Morpeth went up another gear and scored their third try four minutes later, with centre Thompson picking a good line and taking the pass from Bradley to run in and touch down. Brown added the extras for 21-7.
It took another four minutes for the visitors to add to their score with Brown again making a darting run and outpacing the defence to score under the posts, converting his own try to make it 28-7 to the Northumbrians.
The hosts were the next to score, making good use of the offload and keeping the ball tight with short pop passes, they worked their way deep into the Morpeth half before releasing the left winger who ran in to score in the corner. The conversion missed (12-28).
Some changes were made at half-time with Driffield changing the four forwards they had lent Morpeth for a different four.
After the break, Bradley scored in the 42nd minute with a fine piece of vision and the metronome in the number nine shirt stepped and added the extras making it 12-35.
Five minutes later, Bradley’s half-back partner Brown ran in to complete his hat-trick, scoring under the posts and converting for 12-42.
Morpeth were now playing at a pace that Driffield just couldn’t live with, the forwards were working tirelessly, with Yilmaz and Rank leading the way and under 16s Owen and the aptly-named Singer playing their part, making bullocking runs and securing loose ball.
Malone was next to get on the score-sheet after the ball was touched by all 15 players before finding him on the wing for the easiest of run-ins.
Brown converted (12-49).
Morpeth’s final score was Brown’s fourth try, two minutes after the restart. He stepped his opposite number and seemed to ghost through the defence to score out wide, so, with a rare miss from the boot, the score was now 12-54 with 56 minutes played.
Driffield never gave up and continued to play some good rugby, supporting and offloading well. The rest of the half belonged to them, they ran in two converted and one unconverted tries to make the final score 54-31.
Immediately after the final whistle, Brown was given his senior first-team debut, playing for the final five minutes of their match, showing great maturity and slotting straight in at fly-half as if he’d played with that team for years.
Each of the 12 Morpeth players who travelled to Driffield really stepped up to the mark and they all deserve a mention: Adrian Jonas, Jake Mckay, Harry Thompson, Jonny Lishman, John Bell, Andy Bradley, Kieran Brown, Jamie Malone, Husseyin Yilmaz, Henry Rank, Archie Singer, Phillip Owen.