West Leeds 30 – 37 Morpeth
By Daniel Baxter
Sloppy start costs West
Wests were at home this week looking to continue the strong home form seen since the start of the year as we battle for survival. Unavailability’s again hit this week with top try scorer Mark Calderwood missing, along with Daddy Marshall.
Wests played with the wind in the first half, keen to use it to our advantage. This was not the case however as Morpeth quickly raced in to a 15 point lead in the first quarter of an hour as they capitalised on an uncharacteristically slow start from the home side. The first try came from a scrum taken against the head on our own 5m line, with another try scored when picking round the side of the ruck and popping back inside, with these trys sandwiching a penalty in the middle. 0-15.
Wests did finally get on the scoreboard when Ste Anderson crossed following some strong running in midfield by George and Eliah amongst others. Steve took the ball in, appeared tackled, then popped out the other side to stretch out an arm and dot down. Keir missed the conversion. 5-15.
Wests discipline had been poor early on and we knew it had to improve as we had fell foul of the referee a fair few times already. Rather than do this though, we thought it would be a laugh to upset the ref even more. Giving a few cheap penalties away to take us all the way back to our own 5m line, then George was sent to the bin for playing the 9 before he’d even picked the ball up, spectators were able to see his internal struggle as he fought with himself not to put hands on the 9, before eventually giving in. A man up and on the 5m line so Morpeth score out wide to take the score to 5-20.
Morpeth were now chasing a try bonus point, which they got moments later taking the score to 5-27
The next moment of note was when local hero, Dan Baxter, put in a shot on the away captain, which the visiting skipper took umbrage too and threw all of his toys out of the pram. Despite Dan Baxter being completely innocent and simply minding his own business, he was sent to the bin along with the Morpeth hooker.
The loss of their hooker seemed to hit Morpeth must harder than the loss of Wests left hand second row and Wests were able to claw a score back shortly after. Duane Smith covered across, tackled the visiting winger, stripped the ball from his arms, and set up Sam Neave to race through a gap before sending Jack Marshall away to score a converted try on the stroke of half time. 10-27.
Half Time – West Leeds 10 – 27 Morpeth
With Dan Baxter still missing Wests were performing well and a George Carpenter kick off take put WL on the front foot. The ball was spun wide to Keir Breakwell who put in a deft kick over the top, which he collected (because the Morpeth winger dropped it) and handed on to Duane Smith. Duane passed to Tim, who passed to Alex, who passed to Lewis, who drew the last man before the 6 foot colossus Eliah Chitiyo raced away up the wing, stepping two defenders to make the conversion easier for Keir (a contender for WL try of the season). 17-27.
Morpeth were now incurring the wrath of the referee, and WL received a penalty that was kicked to the corner. Ben Stringer, father of two and homeowner, individually told every forward what the call was. Lineout set up, move starts to be ran, Dan Baxter expertly sells his dummy jump that well that even Tim Pickersgill buys it, and chucks in. Lineout goes pecs up. Ball dropped, Morpeth ball.
The pressure wasn’t fully relieved though as Sam Neave charged down the clearing kick, which was collected by Keir Breakwell. From the breakdown Dom Walsh picked out the rampaging pit pony that is Lewis Bromley, who burst through the line and popped off to the supporting Ben Stringer for a converted try. 24-27.
Wests were right back in it and went close again when Eliah skinned the defence, before trying a step over kick past the fullback, somehow this didn’t come off and Morpeth were able to clear.
The next noteworthy moment occurred when, in our own half, Wests were trying to spread the ball wide. Sam Neave put a pin point pass in for a try under the posts, unfortunately for WL, the pass was to a Morpeth player and there was now 10 points between the teams again. 24-34.
With ten minutes to go Keir kicked a penalty to get us within 7 points, then in a real nasty move the visiting team elected for a kick at posts only moments later to take this losing bonus point from us. 27-37.
Wests maintained their composure however and were able to get another penalty to the left of the uprights, and the ‘will he won’t he’ kicker extraordinaire Keir Breakwell stepped up. This time he did get it and the score was 30-37.
Full Time West Leeds 30 – 37 Morpeth – two losing bonus points for the home side against top of the league, but the first quarter of an hour cost us dear in our fight for further league points.
Man of the match was Tim Pickersgill, it could have been for numerous things, he was part of ‘lineout-gate’ mentioned above, he also threw the ball at the visiting winger in a fit of rage, but he remained positive throughout, informing the team that we were a quarter of a way to a league point after Ste’s try and celebrated two losing bonus points like his primary rival for the hookers shirt had been ran over by a car – he also did lots of tackling and carrying to be fair to him.
Stringer and Lewis also played really well, Will Betts put in a big shift with lots of carries and tackles before being substituted, presumably blamed for something that he had nothing to do with, as is tradition.
Ste Anderson was the turnover king and in case you missed it above, Sneave threw an interception
Next up we have a huge home game against Bridlington, kick off at 3pm at the lane.
Editors note: Some other stuff may have happened, and things mentioned above may not be true, please stop sending me complaints over whatsapp, it keeps interupting my Clash of Clans game.