The weather was perfect for open running rugby, apart from a slight breeze from end to end. West kicked off with the breeze at their backs and immediately went on the attack. Early on they created some good scoring opportunities, but failed to convert these into points by committing some basic errors. Morpeth made the most of this and were the first to score after 6mins when a kick ahead got a ‘rovers’ bounce straight into the arms of the attacker and they ran in the try, missing the conversion; 0 – 5.
Morpeth had there heads up after this and after 14mins their big pack took a line out ball on drove over for their second try, this time slotting the conversion; 0 – 12.
This was a bit of a wake up call for West and they started to play some more structured rugby rugby, controlling the ball and moving through some phases. They managed to convert this into points when they were awarded a penalty on the Morpeth twenty-two, Ryan Painter took it quickly and rounded a few defenders for Wests first try on 18mins, Zac Southern converting; 7 – 12. West were finding their feet now in the game and were moving the ball around and creating gaps in the Morpeth defence. This paid dividends on 21mins when the ball was recycled several time before being moved along the backs for Zac Southern to score in the corner, with him also making a superb conversion from wide out; 14 – 12.
Mistakes and turnovers allowed Morpeth back into the game and they were the next to score on 25mins, missing the conversion; 14 – 17. Morpeth continued to press and were unsuccessful with a penalty attempt on 38mins and the half finished 14 – 17.
At the start of the second half West went straight on the attack and a nice move in the centres saw the impressive Peter Youll break through for the score on 44mins, Southern again converting; 21 – 17.
From the kick off West again went back on the attack and after moving the ball around the field centre Youll made another break on 50mins before offloading to the lively Liam Bailey who ran in for the try, Southern again slotting the conversion; 28 – 17. West were reduced to fourteen men on 56mins when Ryan Painter was sent to the sin bin. Even with Painter off the pitch West continued to put pressure on the visitors and after a break off the back of the scrum and some good hands Marty Boatman was released on the wing to run in the try on 68mins, Southern this time missing the conversion; 33 – 17.
West again eased off and allowed Morpeth back into the game with some poor first up tackling and the visitors scored their final try on 62mins, making the conversion; 33 – 24. Game went a bit quiet with neither team managing to put together any real scoring opportunities.
Morpeth further reduced the margin on 67mins with a well-taken penalty; 33 – 27. West themselves had a penalty attempt on 78mins, but it was uncharacteristically missed by Southern. From the resulting attacking position, however, Phil Wallis, on for Ryan Painter, chipped over and an error in defence handed the ball to Wallis over the line to make a simple touch down, Southern again slotting the conversion, making the final score 40 – 27.
All in all a good performance with some good rugby, but we need to make sure we play for the full eighty minutes, sometimes we tend to switch off for sections of the game and let teams back in.
This season we’ve seen quite a few of the younger players appearing for the Stags, players who have come through from the junior section. They have stepped up well and are now performing in the senior teams, the likes of Tim Blades, who made his Stags debut on Saturday, Peter Youll, Jay Corbett, Nathan Myers and Luke Mallinson.
Z Southern, M Boatman, P Moss, P Youll, L Mallinson, D Tighe, R Painter, P Henderson, C Young, T Blades, N Myers, J Corbett, M Hogan, L Bailey, C Forrest
J Painter, P Miller, P Wallis