YOU would have to go back a long time to find two consecutive heavy defeats for Tynedale Raiders.

But that was the case as, after going down 57-3 to Wharfedale Forresters the previous week, they were well beaten 61-5 in the semi-finals of the Northumberland Senior County Cup by Morpeth’s first team.

The young Raiders side’s challenge was made all the greater against a team adapting well to life in the North Premier League by the depletion of members of the Raiders squad due to either first team call-ups, injuries or general unavailability.

This resulted in a number of backs playing in new positions against a well-organised and tough opposition.

The game was played out under floodlights on Friday evening and much credit must go to groundsman Peter Simpson for his preparation of the pitch, particularly given the heavy rainfall over the previous 24 hours.

From the kick off, Morpeth started brightly and, on only two minutes, their winger touched down for a converted try. This was followed only minutes later by another converted try by their opposite winger. With the game only six minutes old, the youngsters from Tynedale trailed 14-0.

In a rare spell of concerted pressure, the Raiders then built a series of phases and the ever industrious Ben Blackburn crashed over for an unconverted try to give hope to the Raiders.

However, this was the one and only score Tynedale were able to register against a combative Morpeth defence which went on to score three more tries in the opening half.

They always managed to put away a penalty to turn around at the break with an unassailable 34-5 lead.

The second half mirrored the first as Morpeth took control of the game with tries coming at regular intervals, taking the final score to an emphatic 61-5.

Despite the result, the Raiders’ effort could not be faulted but they ultimately came up against a side that were simply too strong on the night.

They have the chance to get their season back on track on Saturday with the visit of Sheffield Tigers in the Northern Pilot League.