Rugby union: Wheatley pay the penalty

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Wheatley Hills saw victory snatched away from them when they conceded a late penalty in their opening North One East match at Morpeth.

Wheatley, who won their first 11 matches last season before slipping to an eventual fourth place finish, had high hopes of a win after scoring a home and away double against the Northumberland side last term.

And they often looked capable of adding to those successes before being edged out 26-25 at the death.

They took the game straight to the home side, going ahead after 16 minutes when Gareth Burns crashed over for the opening try from a five-metre line-out.

Matty Jinks and Jonathan Woodcock exchanged penalty goals but the visitors found themselves under pressure when home lock Joe Forsythe crashed over between the posts for a try which Jinks had no trouble converting.

They slipped further behind when Morpeth’s left winger Ben Turner raced in, again under the posts, to give Jinks another easy task.

That put Wheatley nine points adrift, although they closed back to within two points when, with the last play of the first half, Burns again took the ball from a line-out five metres from the Morpeth line and slipped the ball to substitute Carl Waller who scraped in at the corner.

Woodcock converted with a brilliant kick from the touchline to make the half time score 17-15.

Woodcock opened the second half scoring with a penalty but Wheatley struggled to gain any ball for a long period as Morpeth came back with two more penalties on 47 and 55 minutes.

Then, eight minutes from time, Wheatley looked to have the game within their grasp when they took the ball at another line-out and Burns went over for his second try to equalise.

Woodcock’s conversion put the visitors back in the lead but their joy was short-lived when they were penalised for a ruck offence in front of their own posts.