INJURY-hit Wheatley Hills climbed back into third spot in North East One with a 22-16 win at Morpeth in their penultimate fixture of the season,
Victory in their last game of the season at home to Northern on Saturday will see the Doncaster side, who have a much better points difference, hang on to third spot irrespective of Cleckheaton’s final result.
To add to their injury problems, veteran forward Andy Wilson (neck) and utility-back Mark Sanderson (shoulder) and young second-rower Stuart Tijanic (ankle) - one of five of the club’s Under-19s on duty - all failed to finish the match.
The home side drew first blood with a try in the corner after three minutes.
Wheatley quickly hit back with No 8 Gaz Burns breaking off from the back of a scrum and beating a couple of defenders on his way to the line for an unconverted try to make it 5-5 after eight minutes.
Morpeth, who had the strong wind at their backs, regained the lead with a second unconverted try on 15 minutes.
A converted try by Sanderson, who beat a couple of defenders after making a break on the Morpeth 22, secured the Doncaster club a 12-10 lead after 30 minutes.
Wheatley’s lead didn’t last long, however, and the home side kicked a penalty to turn around 13-12 ahead.
Youngster Jack Craswell, who had just replaced the injured Sanderson at fly-half, restored Wheatley’s lead with a 47th minute penalty.
There was little to choose between the two sides for the next 20 minutes or so with the only addition to the scoring being a second Morpeth penalty.
Craswell sent centre Ryan Guest away 30 metre out with a well-timed pass and he looked set to score until being tackled just short of the line - fortunately for Wheatley, Burns was up in support and went over for a second try, converted by Craswell.
Wheatley Hills Under-19s, who won the Yorkshire Cup last month, take on Lancashire Cup winners Fleetwood at Huddersfield on Sunday in the inaugural Cock of the North Cup.