West Hartlepool 13 Morley RFC 23 MORLEY made it three wins from three in North One with a solid display at West Hartlepool on Saturday.
A game played in hot conditions saw the Maroons always looking like they had the beating of opponents who were nevertheless spirited.However, there were some anxious moments when ill discipline reduced the Morley numbers due to three yellow cards during the game.
Morley were straight on the attack from the kick-off as number eight Joe Battye made a good pick up at a scrum to feed scrum half Sean Dadswell who broke clear to race from his own 22 up to the home 22. The move was carried on by the backs and Neil Murray was over the line on four minutes only to be deemed to be held up.
Two minutes later further pressure brought a penalty for offside and Mark Chester stepped up to kick the goal.
Hartlepool hit back on 19 minutes with a penalty for offside kicked by fly half Paul Moss, but an immediate response came from Morley as a loose ball as a result of fierce tackling fell to the feet of Craig Field who needed no invitation to sprint in from the 22. Chester added the conversion and it was 10-3.
The home side were not dispirited, though, and flanker Aaron Myers, recruited from national league team Darlington Mowden Park, nipped through a gap at a ruck to race 40 metres before a good tackle from Scott Evans put him down. A careless high tackle was penalised soon after and West got some points back with Moss's second penalty.
Battye's pace was causing the home side problems and Morley established control again only to find themselves a man down when another high tackle, this time from probably the smallest man on the pitch in Simon Bradshaw saw the winger sent to the sin-bin. Even down to 14 men, the Maroons were still in the ascendancy and a great sniping run from fly half Chester, well backed up by Michael Ash and Koby Gyast, gained 50 yards. Battye and Mike Burnett took the ball forward until West again went offside and Chester kicked the resulting penalty to make it 13-6 at half-time.
As Bradshaw returned on 42 minutes, Morley remained with 14 as Field was yellow carded for a clumsy high tackle. The hosts sensed an opportunity and only a period of desperate defence kept them out. The Maroons again found disfavour with the referee when Chester was adjudged to have committed a professional foul and they were now down to 13 men. More pressure followed and a catch and drive move saw Hartlepool score a try as their number eight Paul Vinnicombe, another from Mowden Park, was driven over. Moss added a touchline conversion and it was 13-13.
On the hour Morley were back to full numbers and back to dominating play and territory. West were unable to cope and penalised for coming in from the side – again Chester was on target with the kick and the visitors were back in front.
The Maroons were straight back on the attack from the restart and left wing Bradshaw went round his opposite number before getting the ball away with a clever inside pass to Murray who jubilantly ran over to score what turned out to be the match clinching try. Another good kick from Chester put the icing on the cake and Morley had a 23-13 win.
The pack had played a magnificent game against bigger opponents. The front row battled manfully all game while John Stannard looked after his young second row colleague Sean Burke who was outstanding in only his second first team appearance. Field was never far from the action while Battye outshone the vastly more experienced Vinnicombe and Burnett is holding it all together like the wise head he is.
West Hartlepool: I Dixon; A Cheslin, Kerr, Connolly, C Cheslin; Moss, Tighe; Carr, A Dixon, Robinson, T Dixon, MIller, Boatman, Myers, Vinnicombe. Replacements: Norris, Hodgson, Sawyer.
Morley: Evans; Gyast, Ash, Murray, S Bradshaw; Chester, S Dadswell; Gabriel, Darbyshire, Gray, Stannard, Burke, Field, Burnett, Battye. Reps: Anderson, P Dadswell, K Bradshaw.
Referee: Dean Lythgoe
West Hartlepool: Try, Vinnicombe. Conversion, Moss. Penalty, Moss 2.
Morley: Tries, Field, Murray. Conversions, Chester 2. Penalties, Chester 3.