Morpeth 17 Colts 5
Tight game in Northumberland
Billingham Colts 2017-18 03/02/2018 Away against Morpeth at Ashington
Reet Petite – Jackie Wilson -1957
Report By Mr Munns
It’s a veritable packed lunch of a match report this week as the Colts journeyed up into Northumberland to visit Morpeth via the match location at Ashington. Various conspiracy theories (new series of X files on Monday)were discussed but the switch on to an all-weather pitch couldn’t come as too much of a shock for those hardy squad players used to training/playing at the Greenwood road complex.
A few faces missing from the bus but the squad of loyal followers made the best of it despite the absence of any tunes from the back. The usual wide ranging conversation included topical analysis, thoughts of the non-resident nature of some supporters (joke factory) and the use of hand tools within the home. I can report that the first light refreshment was taken on Marsh House Avenue as the bus moved down the hill over the railway. The driver made very good time which meant we arrived at the location before anyone else, once we had negotiated the estate and despite attempts to locate an entrance we hovered about in the car park being eyed up by several seagulls. At this point two brave men wandered off in search of supplies a bit like Scott of the Antarctic, but they returned safely at a later stage with lifesaving beverage. Players wandered into the changing rooms and checked out the doors leading to the toilets, tonight Matthew.
On to the pitch for a warm up, which really we could have done with too in the drizzly weather and the kick off time passed then the ref arrived. Sean was a constant throughout the day with cameo appearances from other support (are we allowed to say if you were there????). Standing room only for everyone as no dugouts but the banter was great from both sides. Various cameras were is evidence which means that the wardrobe overhauled quickly, is that spare green jacket you had last week available Sean? Anyway everyone in place, ref is ready, players are ready, seagulls ready and we’re off.
Billingham play towards the school for the allotment end with Morpeth taking the kick off. Now a word of warning the notes got very, very wet and the mind didn’t retain as much there may be not much in depth analysis (if there ever was!!!) but this was an absorbing encounter. The first half saw Morpeth very much in the ascendancy with territory but then balanced by excellent work from Billingham. Billingham didn’t leave there own half more than a couple of times during the half but the effort put in across the park was on a par with the Percy Park game. In the conditions the ball was greasy but most knock-ons came from contact as both teams left no gaps. Penalties were kicked to touch with a majority of line outs not straight limiting any advantage. A couple of scrums were taken against the head forcing the Billingham defence into action again, as one Billingham supporter put it - it was Morpeth crashing against the great wall of Billingham. But Morpeth were creeping every nearer despite the strength of tackle and as they pitched up on the try line again a crash ball runner finally breached the wall. Un-converted that was half time, honest it had flown.
5 – 0 at half time seemed a very fair score, Billingham hadn’t really had a clear cut chance and the Morpeth pressure had built through-out the half. At this point the paper was getting wetter and the pen decided to give in as the coaches looked to change it slightly.
Billingham kicked off towards the allotments and some quick handling raised the tempo as the drizzle broke into a fret or roake dependant on where you are from. Billingham were forming attacks and the first chance looked open with men over but a grubber through was contained. Billingham were pressurising and the ball had to be grounded in touch to thwart another chance. Morpeth looked to defend the line but the ball was moved giving Coops the slimmest of gaps to get the try. Fez showed the ball both posts as it went past, similar to the Morpeth conversion in the fits to give a 5 – 5 score line.
So a bit of turn around but Morpeth were soon back in the Billingham half but again the defence held firm forcing a knock on. Billingham were looking to move the ball from deep generally through hands to keep it tight. The work rate again was high across the squad, like-wise Morpeth were not allowing long runs or any space. Morpeth were also employing a long kick to pin Billingham back and turn them around. As Billingham looked to clear with a kick it was gathered by Morpeth who attacked through the middle and support runners finished off the move. Conversion was missed for 10 – 5.
Billingham kick off looking for a response and the rest of the game was backwards and forwards, but 2 events made the difference. Billingham had a scrum in their own half which the ball was fed in, went through and out the other side, Morpeth didn’t hesitate picked up and ran it in. converted for 17 – 5. Morpeth also picked up on the counter rucking making it difficult to provide quick clean ball and at time forcing the turnover. Billingham did have a few chances but Morpeth were defending well and played the game out.
Can’t fault the effort from either side but Morpeth shave it on organisation and sharpness on the day. It is a marker of the league that games are tight and played at such a high tempo, it was a very entertaining match probability more than the report suggests. So then bags into the bus and off to Morpeth for showers plus food in a packed clubhouse which was warm. I swapped hats in a doomed attempt to dry off. The journey back was a bit downbeat at the back but luckily the front was in full flow in more ways than one, there are away trips left for those intrigued!!!!
So no time this week for Harry Potter look alike, international concrete expert, quick! Water bottle, Cheap lager brands, school security, how many stops!!, who knows all the words to Adele songs, its mathematically possible, can you see Jeff from space?, I could kill a coffee and I’m older than most on the bus revelation.
“To be the best in the world is not about doing brilliant things but about doing the basics brilliantly,”
- Eddie Jones - February 2018.