With vice-captain Ryan Painter and second row Joe Rafferty away we blooded 17 year old scrum half Matty Siddle and his fearless tackling and long quick pass were major features as our pack often went backwards.
No 8 Sam Miller was also missing through injury ,as was Michael Hogan, so we were always deficient in terms of bulk. However, we did had the bonus of the return of athletic lock John Bunter where his line-out skills won vital ball and skipper Dan Boatman,who was carrying an injury throughout, did a valiant job at No 8.
As a result fly half Gavin Painter put in a man of the match performance with his tactical kicking providing the platform.
It came to the fore after just six minutes when we were already trailing to a penalty from Morpeth fly half Ben Hornby.
Zac Southern intelligently kicked into the 22, and when the visitors failed to throw straight at the line-out West took the opportunity to catch and drive.
Peter Youll then made progress and when the ball was recycled Painter put a high punt towards the corner flag at the clubhouse end. Rob Thorn was first to the ball and he used his power to shrug off Morpeth winger Jake McKay to crash over.
Painter converted from wide on the left, and he was on target again with 25 metre penalty after he made a half break with Siddle and Maddison taking the ball on - Morpeth eventually being penalised for going over the top.
The visitor's pack then enjoyed its best spell of the game forcing us back into our half. Hornby slotted two penalties before Painter again struck right on half time to give us a 13-6 lead at the break.
Jay Corbett had forced the penalty in front of the posts as he barged his way towards the line - only to pay the price having to retire with an arm injury to be replaced at the break by Carl Milller..
Morpeth had the elements behind them in the second half and they used them to pin us back.
A succession of penalties saw us run out of numbers on the blind side with winger Jonny Ward crashing over in the corner. The visitors had opted for scrums instead of shots at the goal posts as their pack continued to have the better of the set piece.
Hornby's conversion attempt was too low, but he did strike after 52 minutes to give the visitors the lead – the penalty coming after young Irish referee Ian Kenny had penalised us seven times in a row. (Incidentally, Ian is living in Aberdeen and is a member of the Scottish Rugby Society. He had run touch at Scotstoun on Friday night before overnighting in Penrith en route to Hartlepool, and after the game had a long drive back to north east Scotland. Good luck to him in his rugby career).
The restart provided the opportunity to rebuild with both sides missing penalty attempts before home pressure finally resulted in the winning score with just seven minutes left on the clock.
It came after replacement winger Will Hilditch collected a clearance kick just inside his own half and he jinked through the defence to set up good ball in the 22.
Gav Painter took the ball towards the line and when he was brought down the ball was quickly spun right by Siddle where Southern picked out Liam Checksfield.
The youngster had Rob Thorn outside him but cut inside to crash over despite the attentions of three tacklers.
Painter again converted to give us a six point margin which we held onto until the final whistle without too many threats from Morpeth.
West: Zac Southern, Liam Checksfield, Eldon Myers, Peter Youll, Rob Thorn, Gavin Painter, Matt Siddle, Adam Coates, Andrew Rollins, Ross Wood, Jay Corbett, John Bunter, Alex Barker, Lee Maddison, Dan Boatman (captain).
Reps (all used): Tim Blades, Will Hilditch, Carl Miller.
Tries: Thorn, Checksfield.
Cons: Painter (2)
Pens: Painter (2)
Morpeth: David Wall, Jonny Ward, Ben Turner, David Lynn, Jake McKay, Ben Hornby, Jack Elliott, Liam Carmichael, Carl Hill (capt), Tony Moody, Karl Campbell, Simon Michie, Robbie Stansfield, Mickey Craigs, James Armstrong.
Reps (all used): Hus Yilmaz, Will McCubbin, Callum Lawn.
Pens: Hornby (3).
Referee Ian Kenny (Scottish Referees Society)