Stags extend winning run at Morpeth

By Stags Management - January 20 2011
Stags extend winning run at Morpeth
Davey T - good kicking The Stags maintained their 100% winning record for the season with a hard fought 12 – 3 victory away to Morpeth Reivers. The fixture had very much a continental theme with the game being overseen by a Swiss exchange referee, and although some of the law interpretations on the continent appear to be somewhat different to those in the UK, overall the official did an excellent job.

This return fixture was always going to be a tough fixture for the Stags, the game earlier in the season played at West was a close encounter with West running out victors by a narrow margin. Conditions were difficult, the pitch was heavy underfoot and with a strong wind blowing from end to end it was always going to make running rugby difficult.

West started the first half kicking into the wind and immediately were on the front foot with some powerful drives from the forwards making some good ground. Occasional mistakes handed the ball back to Morpeth and they were able to use the wind to clear their lines.

For spells in the first half West put some good pressure on the Morpeth line, but were unable to convert this into points and struggled at time to move through the phases. Because of the wind West kept the ball tight in the forwards and the back row of Chris Young, Alex Barker and Phil Henderson working well in the loose to secure ball and carried effectively making goods yards.

Morpeth never really looked like scoring, but towards the end of the half they did put some good pressure on the West line, but the West defence held firm and limited the home team to solitary penalty after twenty seven minutes and the first half finished 3 – 0. 

With such a strong wind West felt they were in a strong position being only three points down and having the wind behind them in the second half. At half time West were forced into making a change when Michel Charlton had to leave the field with a badly cut chin, he was replaced by Andy Palmer.

Morpeth started the second half in determined fashion, with the strong wind forcing them to keep the ball in hand and run the ball at West. West allowed them to make good yards with some poor first up tackles and the home team had some good scoring opportunities early in the second half, but were unable to add to their score.

West worked their way back into the game and started to put the phases together and produced some good periods of play and began to exert some significant pressure on Morpeth. West used the wind well with Davey Tighe and Phil Wallis keeping Morpeth pinned back with some intelligent kicking. On 57 minutes it was a kick that lead up to West's first try when a deep kick by Darren Thomas caused problems in the Morpeth defence and Paul Miller did well to follow up and charge down the attempted clearance, before diving on the ball for the first try of the game. Wallis was unlucky with the kick from a difficult angle; 3 - 5.

With the slight lead West were able to relax a bit more and really started to get into their stride. On 67 minutes they were rewarded for some good passages of play with a second try when Ross Wood was on the end of a fine move to dive over in the corner for a well deserved try. Wallis converted, an excellent kick from wide out; 3 - 12.

West continued to use the wind well and were unlucky not to add to their score, although credit must go to Morpeth who defended very well. West saw the game out with most of the play taking place in the Morpeth half and the game finished 3 – 12.

After a poor display last week against Darlington Mowden Park, this week's performance was a marked improvement and the Stags showed signs of getting back to the form they were in before the enforced Winter  break.  

A big thank you to Cam for stepping in to referee the game when the match referee didn’t turn up - he did a great job, kept the game flowing and missed very little. 

Next week sees the Stags play Northern at home, with another home fixture the week after against the Candy League second place team Tynedale, which promises to be an interesting fixture.

Sorry for no report on last week's game against Darlington Mowden Park. It was a very close game that West eventually won 30 – 29, mainly thanks to some great kicking by Zac Southern. The game was very scrappy on a heavy pitch and was the first game back after the seven week break, so to a certain extend you can understand the below par performance. DMP played some good rugby and were unlucky not to win the game, although West did show some determined defence in the latter stages of the second half.
West scored three tries on the day, two by number eight Michael Charlton and one by second row Joe Rafferty. Also on the score sheet was Dominic Stead with a conversion and Zac Southern with two conversions and three penalties.

tarting XV: D Thomas, S Butcher, G Edwards, P Miller, S Cavey, P Wallis, D Tighe, M Hogan, A Dixon, R Wood, J Baggs, M Charlton, C Young, A Barker, P Henderson. Res:  A Palmer, A Cameron, Z Southern.



Stags extend winning run at Morpeth
Official West Hartlepool RFC (IP Logged)
20/01/2011 11:13
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Re: Stags extend winning run at Morpeth
Chocky's Butler (IP Logged)
21/01/2011 11:21
2 match reports in one ... lazy so and so

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