Sat 6 Jan 2018, 14:00
Northern Panthers lost at home 5 – 29 to Morpeth Stags. Match report: Rob Richardson
After a discussion between the two teams during the week it was decided that it would be much more beneficial for both clubs if Morpeth 2’s took a game against Alnwick 2’s and a Northern Panthers team would take on a Morpeth Stags team at McCracken Park.
As the teams lined up it was obvious that it would be a battle between youth and experience especially in the pack. Morpeth defiantly had the nudge in the first few scrums. It was the old heads that managed the first score of the day as they scored a very youthful looking try, throwing the ball wide for the winger to cross in the corner (0-5).
Northern then started to exert some pressure though the tactical kicking of scrum half Charlie Burrowes, who showed an old head on youngish shoulders, taking a quick penalty and waltzing through the retreating Morpeth defence (5-5). The game evened up and the ref let a few dubious knock-ons go allowing the game to flow.
Morpeth took advantage scoring another try (5-10) but their discipline began to slide and again as Northern exerted pressure through the kicking game the visitors retreated towards the post eventually giving away a kickable penalty, allowing Ryan Moore to do the honours as always (8-10)
At half time Northern were able to even up the age difference as John-Dean Laws and Lee Longstaff entered the fray, although this added some much need physicality around the pitch the Morpeth pack were able to position their side to score two more tries (8-22). Northern learnt from this close contact game the opposition were playing and began to keep it tight.
As bodies on both sides felt the Christmas break in their legs, Adam Longstaff was able force his way over from close range, Ryan Moore adding the critical extras to take the game within a score (15-22). As the final whistle neared Northern could have gone for goal a few times but instead wanted the 7 points. As the pressure of the clock mounted one mistake too many allowed Morpeth to score a final break away try to put the game to bed (15-29).
It seems as though the Alnwick 2’s v Morpeth 2’s didn’t take place for whatever reason but this was a good game against two equally matched sides. Hopefully the game against an improving West End team that a similar Northern Panthers XV have this weekend will result in a win