Stags 28 Morpeth 10

By Old P - March 11 2008
Stags 28 Morpeth 10
Panda The Stags were keen to put their poor performance in the cup game last week behind them and to regain some of the form they had shown in the league earlier in the season. With the visitors Morpeth being level on points in the league both sides had something to play for.
The match took place with a strong wind blowing diagonally across the brinkburn pitch, towards the school. The Stags opting to play with the wind behind them started of the match much brighter than their opponents particularly in the backs where they showed the intention to move the ball quickly from the start. As a result the visitors defence was quickly stretched as a result of good interplay between the backs and forwards down the right hand side of the pitch open side flanker Smart burst through a couple of would be tacklers to open the scoring with only 4 minutes on the clock, unconverted(5-0).

Quickly regaining possession the stags continued to move the ball at pace across the pitch and after some very good handling by the backline and a burst though the line by Thomas put left winger Butcher in the clear 20 metres out allowing to score converted by Wallis (12-0). The stags continued to pressure the Morpeth defence as a result of which they conceded a penalty on their twenty two presenting an easy kick for Wallis (15-0).

After this disastrous start Morpeth began to utilise their experienced pack and really pressurise the young west forwards. As a result of which they managed to work themselves up field utilising the pick and drive to get within five metres of the Stags line. After a succession of five metre scrums and a couple of penalties, their prop eventually managed to barge over the line to score, unconverted (15- 5).

From the restart the Stags were straight back on the attack and as a result of a scrum twenty metres out scrum half and captain Williamson broke blind and fed right winger hare who sprinted into the corner to score, unconverted (20-5). They continued to keep Morpeth pinned back in their own half where on the stroke of half time they were awarded a penalty licked by Wallis (23-5).

Morpeth began the second half with renewed determination and put considerable pressure on the Stags eight in the scrums. They failed however to take charge of the lineoutís where the stags second row Lloyd ably abetted by Henderson and Robson controlled the majority of possession.

But it took Morpeth until midway through the second half after an astute kick into the right-hand corner to seriously pressurise the Stags line resulting in their flanker touching down for a try unconverted (23-10).

The Stags charged up-field immediately from the kick off and as a result of some very good handling by Edwards and Robinson the ball was moved to the right wing where substitute Armstrong rounded his opposite number to score in the corner (28-10). This proved to be the last score of the well contested game played in very good spirit. This result as well as cementing the stags position in fourth place in the league in their first year, should also give them a major confidence boost for the rest of the season.

Team: Thomas (Hare 74), Hare (Armstrong 62), Robinson, Edwards, Butcher (Swales 40), Wallis, Williamson (Capt.), Greenwell, Wood, Coates (Hogan46) Lloyd, Robson (Jackson 65), Baggs, Smart, Henderson.