A BRIGHT start quickly faded for a severely weakened Tynedale Centurions, as they lost 50-0 to Morpeth Edwardians in the final of the Northumberland Number Three County Cup.

The Centurions had the better of the opening exchanges with a crunching tackle by captain Jake Sloan setting the tone for the hard contest to follow.

And they had an ideal opportunity to open the scoring when they kicked a penalty to the five-metre line, but while Joe Johnson won the resulting line-out, they were penalised for foul play and Morpeth cleared their lines.

The Tynedale side retained the upper hand, and the front row of Phil Scandle Ollie Murrell and Owen Shield were winning good balls from the set piece.

Oscar Caudle, playing at the back of the scrum, was breaking through the Morpeth defence with some powerful running off the set piece, but the pressure did not lead to a score.

On 26 minutes the Morpeth side scored the vital first try and added the conversion.

Five minutes later they extended their lead with a second converted try. Tynedale then went close to reducing the deficit when Ben Common and Ryan Laverty both just failed to cross the line and then winger Robbie Nixon just failed to hold onto a pass with the try line agonisingly close.

The next score went to Morpeth who added a penalty after a couple of decisions went against the Centurions, and this gave the Edwardians a 22-0 interval lead, despite some good play from Tynedale.

The Blue and Whites started brightly in the second period and with scrum half Andy Harvey looking lively and making some great darting runs.

Full back Rory Dixon covered some distance with his jinking line-breaking runs, and Mark Smailes made some great turnover tackles, while Charlie Rutherford powered forward.

It was all to no avail however, as Morpeth broke away to score a further converted try.

Injuries and fatigue then began to take its toll on the hard working Tynedale team, with Owen Loughead, who replaced Caudle at half time, putting in a good performance.

The replacements were coming on at regular intervals, but the bench had no back replacements due to injuries and unavailability. Players were required to play out of position and this ended the game as a contest.

For despite Callum Foxcroft continuing to take line-out balls consistently, the Centurions could not use the possession effectively. With Joe Johnson moving to full back, Ray Regan moved on to hooker and made a couple of effective driving runs.

The front row was bolstered by Andy Neal, while Dave Nicholls impressed in the second row.

Ian Charlton joined from the bench and took his place on the left wing, but could not hang on to the final pass which would have given Tynedale some fitting reward for their contribution to the contest.

By now the Centurions were feeling the effects of their hard graft and Morpeth ran in three further tries - all which were converted - to give the scoreline a one-sided look

The scoreline was harsh on a severely weakened Centurions side. The strength of the squad was stretched to the limit, yet the players gave a good account of themselves and demonstrated many improvements which have been made this season.

The players are determined to come back from their cup final disappointment and fulfil their potential in the years ahead.