14/15 Wanderers. Morpeth Reivers 26 - 22 Wanderers

Northern were forced into a change before kick off when centre Dan Kerr tweaked his hamstring in the warm up. Kicking off with the elements Northern put Morpeth under pressure and they conceded a penalty on 3 minutes which full back Joss Pinsent kicked for a deserved lead. Northern continued to press and were awarded another penalty for a Morpeth infringement on 12 minutes. Full back Joss Pinsent struck the ball well but the kick rebounded off the post however a poor clearing kick was collected and slick hands moved the ball to number 8 Harrison Clark who powered over for an excellent unconverted try out wide. Northern were moving the ball well with Morpeth struggling for any possession and on 18 minutes a poor Morpeth kick was fielded well by Joss Pinsent who showed great skill to beat the first defender and pass to supporting wing David O’Suillivan. The wing showed good pace to take the ball into the Morpeth 22 and passed back inside to the supporting Joss Pinsent who quickly transferred the ball to the looping wing who surged over for a fine score. Joss Pinsent converted to extend Northern’s lead. Morpeth were continuing to infringe at the breakdown and on 22 minutes Northern kicked a penalty for offside for a line out inside the Morpeth 22. Despite severe Northern pressure where a score looked likely, Morpeth somehow held out and managed to clear their lines. On 25 minutes another Morpeth kick was fielded by Harrison Clark who made a surging break and passed inside to supporting lock Lee Longstaff who showed a good turn of pace to make the line for a try that Joss Pinsent converted. Northern were looking to run away with the game but referee Mr Ash was very lenient with Morpeth and allowed further blatant infringements at the break down. On 30 minutes after a clear knock on by a Morpeth player he allowed play to go on and penalised Northern 10 metres from their line. Morpeth took a quick tapped penalty and their big forwards recycled the ball and drove over for a converted try. Northern’s game management was poor after this and instead of kicking long with the wind the backs tried to run the ball out of defence. Their execution was not good and on 40 minutes from a defensive 5m scrum the ball was lost and the Morpeth scrum half darted over for an unconverted try. Half time score: Northern Wanderers 22 – Morpeth 12.

Hamstring injuries to Harrison Clark and David O’Sullivan forced Northern to again reshuffle their team at half time. Morpeth turned around with the elements behind them and with their former first team fly half Matthew Jinks kicking well for position Northern were pinned back into their 22. Northern’s exit play was very poor and on 43 minutes following a missed touch kick the Morpeth pack recycled the ball and drove back. From the ruck the ball was moved to the Morpeth wing coming back on the inside for a converted try. Northern did rally and on 56 minutes Joss Pinsent was just short with a long range penalty following yet another Morpeth infringement. Northern continued to show enterprise but despite some promising half breaks they were unable to break down the Morpeth defence for another score. Morpeth continued to kick long and use their forwards with the pick and drive being their main attacking weapon but Northern defended well. The Northern scrum was working well and the Morpeth prop was turning in at every contact. Unfortunately, the referee Mr Ash did not deal with this and Morpeth were not penalised until the 70th minute for a scrum in the Northern 22. Northern kicked the penalty for a line out on the 10m line but from the throw Morpeth infringed and knocked the ball through but this was missed by Mr Ash and following a scrappy chase Northern were penalised at the break down 10m from their line. Northern did hold out for two drives but were penalised again after another Morpeth knock on was missed. Morpeth took a quick tap and drove over for a converted try on 74 minutes. To make matters worse the referee blew for time with at least 6 minutes left on the clock to leave the final score: Northern Wanderers 22 – Morpeth 26.

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