The injury crisis got even worse this week as we crept into the territory of 2 unavailable XVs, some reasons, such as Keir’s broken arm are understandable, some, such as Tom Jackson having a birthday 5 weeks ago and needing the weekend off not so – and don’t get me started on DTR having to ‘work’ despite having a Monday to Friday job and never having worked a weekend before in his life #RARF
Anyway, after much begging WL managed to scrape together 17 players and a 46 year old Thommo for the final trip to the North East of the season (already), and picked up Duane from his house, and George, Dan and Mal from Durham services, with enough time left over for a mariokart tournament before arriving at Morpeth – the match was sponsored by the KKK interestingly, who knew they had a community outreach department amongst ‘other offerings’.
With Morpeth being close to the wall we kicked off at 14:00, and the first score belonged to Morpeth who were awarded a penalty try from a 5m scrum. 7-0
Wests tried to punch holes in the home defence and were rewarded with a penalty shortly later, although this was pushed just wide by Luke Mallinson, and has as been WL luck this season, we were shortly under our posts again when Morpeth countered to cross in the corner. 12-0
WL threatened again, kicking a penalty to the corner, however, the throw to Dec was missed despite there being no competition from the Morpeth defensive line. WL eventually managed to get on the scoreboard when awarded a penalty after some good running from Alex and George in midfield, with Luke Mallinson this time converting. 12-3
Archie Rika-Rayne, carrying a knock from previous weeks, asked to swap position from kick off due to his limited mobility (well more limited than normal), he was rewarded as Morpeth dropped the kick straight on him, unfortunately the resulting contact meant he could no longer continue, and we had to reshuffle the pack, with Danny Lock coming on for his 1st XV debut.
It was now turn for Mitch to make an impact when, also on his 1st XV debut, he received a yellow card, for having not realised the Morpeth attacker passed the ball the best part of a week ago and tackling him anyway.
From the resulting scrum the home number 8 picked and crossed out wide for another unconverted try 17-3.
Wests now enjoyed perhaps there best spell of the game, keeping play in the home half with Dec Penny trying to run in to as many blokes as he could. The pressure was telling as Morpeth infringed and we added 6 further points from the boot of Luke Mallinson but could not get across the try line as we struggled with some simple stuff following the reshuffle of personnel. 17-9
Half Time 17 - 9
The second half belonged to Morpeth who crossed for three further scores to take the score to 34-9 by full time, but there were some points of note for WL.
Unfortunately Will Betts, also playing with a knock this week was forced to retire due to injury in the second half, resulting in uncontested scrums and the interesting sight of 47 year old Thommo (usually a fly half) coming on in the second row.
Sam Marshall entered the field for his first team debut, joining his brother Jack on the pitch, although unfortunately big brother John is on the extended injury list at present.
Danny Lock put in some massive hits and secured a crucial turnover in the away 22, Dec Penny and George Carpenter had a go at throwing in to the lineout as we ended the game without a recognised hooker and only one ‘out and out’ prop.
Full Time 34-9
Well done to Morpeth who fully deserved the victory, whom having disrupted our breakdown all day and having the upper edge in the scrum, rubbed salt into the wounds as they charge £4.20 a pint! North South divide?
Man of the match for WL was Dec Penny who featured prominently in all that was good about WL, apart from his lineout chucking.
This weekend is a free weekend for the 1st XV, details are to follow on a 2nd XV fixture keep your eyes out for a message from 48 year old Thommo. The next game is on the 17th of November as we head to Bridlington, as we hope to welcome back a few injuries, along with a new look Luke Waite.
Updated 09:44 - 6 Nov 2018 by Daniel Baxter