Crocs miss out as errors prove costly

Morpeth 15 Old Crossleyans 14

Old Crossleyans were guilty of taking their eyes off the ball as they suffered a disappointing North One East defeat at Morpeth.

Crocs generally had the better of the game but were unable to see off their hosts and had to settle for the consolation of a losing bonus point.

Morpeth had been dealt a blow with their regular kicker declared unfit before the game. However, they still took the honours after outscoring the Broomfield men two tries to one.

Crocs had the perfect start with Leigh Thomas landing a penalty for a 3-0 lead, and as the visitors remained on the offensive another indiscretion from Morpeth allowed Thomas to double the advantage from 15 metres out.

Crocs were firmly in command but failed to build on their lead as good drives from Boj Sembi and Manny Riaz were spoiled by handling errors.

It was against the run of play when Morpeth hit back and took a narrow lead, scrum half Cunningham driving over from a scrum for centre Phillips to convert via the inside of a post.

Crocs returned to the attack and won a penalty 35 metres out, and in front of the posts, which Thomas landed with aplomb to restore the lead at 9-7.

Sustained pressure from Morpeth pinned Crocs back and from a scrum 30 metres out the hosts spread the ball wide and fly half Wilkinson made an arcing run around the defence to score wide out, Phillips’ conversion striking the post but staying out this time as the hosts held a 12-9 lead at the break.

Morpeth missed the chance to extend their lead in the second half when they pulled a penalty wide, but Phillips made no mistake 15 minutes later to stretch the home side’s advantage to 15-9.

Crocs breathed again when Morpeth missed another penalty just before the hour, and although they continued to make errors the visitors reduced the deficit with another fine passage of play.

A good lineout saw the ball moved through many hands and Riaz broke with skipper James Wainwright in support. The backs were fed good ball before Billy Hammond crossed in the corner too wide out for Thomas to convert.

Crocs were unable to keep up the momentum and it was Morpeth who could have added to their score only to miss out with another penalty attempt.