1st XV - Report
DURHAM CITY 20 MORPETH 15
City bounced back from last week’s disappointing result with a good, solid performance against Morpeth at Hollow Drift in the North 1 East League.
Good Morpeth defence kept them at bay however, a simple penalty chance went begging and then, when Morpeth got to the City 22 for the first time, they struck, winger Liam Allen slicing through the middle to score a fine try as they ran from a ruck. Stand-off Matthew Jinks converted and suddenly City trailed 0 – 7.
The response was excellent however. A lineout steal and break by City lock Peter Dent took play deep into the Morpeth 22 and after a series of pick-and-drives by the forwards, the ball was finally moved wide for flanker Jeff Roberts to put centre Chris Metcalfe over for their first try after 16 minutes.
10 minutes later they took a deserved lead when Dent was stopped on the line from a driven lineout and No.8 Howard Johnson took his offload to dive over. Stand-off Arnie Stevenson converted and 5 minutes before the interval added a penalty to take their lead to 15 – 7.
The game turned somewhat after half-time however as Morpeth, now with the wind advantage came at them with far more purpose and City were forced to defend for lengthy periods.
But when they attacked the short side from a driven lineout15 metres out after 53 minutes, Johnson dived over in the corner for his second try to stretch City’s advantage to 20 – 7.
Morpeth were by no means finished however and their reward came 4 minutes later when City’s defence was sucked in by a series of pick-and-drives by the visitors’ forwards and full-back Ben Sims had a simple run-in when they released their backs.
But although the pressure built on City, they won vital possession at critical times and their defence, generally excellent on the day, was equal to the task.
At 12 – 20 down and needing two scores to win, the final word was however Morpeth’s, when they opted to kick a simple penalty 4 minutes into injury time through Jinks to secure a losing bonus point. But for City, this was a confidence-boosting victory and tomorrow they travel to Northern (KO 2.15pm)
CITY: Peter Van Loo; Richard North, Chris Metcalfe, Grant Thompson, Thomas Howard; Arnie Stevenson, Paul Armstrong; Kenny Reader, Dave Farrer, Neil Hart, Peter Dent, Stuart Smithson, Darren McKinnon, Jeff Roberts, Howard Johnson.
Replacements: Mark Archbold, Richard Turnbull, Tom Baty.