WHITBY Maroons rose to the top of the table thanks to a tense victory over previously unbeaten North Shields at fortress Showfield.
With the conditions not the best underfoot, the two teams entered the field with spectators expecting a close contest.
Shields, using weight instead of brains in the first half, gave Whitby a massive wake-up call when they scored after a minute from a huge driving maul from a lineout, adding the conversion.
But this was about it as Morley stole most of the ball from the lineout all day.
Whitby played with controlled heads, mostly led by Steve Allen and he gave his players time and space.
But while a few passes were not going to hand due to inexperience, Ollie Roberts smashed a penalty to reduce the arrears to 3-7.
The second half, was much the same as the first with the pitch starting to become a quagmire. But both teams played equally in the pack and it became stop/start.
The cavalry arrived on 50 minutes when Harrison and Stentiford and the young buck Truman came on to tidy up around the loose.
Soon Whitby camped on the away side’s line and stern defence kept the home side at bay.
A penalty from short range was inexpliably missed from 5m out, Whitby collected the ball from the restart and recycled it well.
Allen caught the winger napping and his crossfield kick fell nicely for winger Taylor to coolly finish off.
Ollie made up for his earlier miss and slammed a long-range effort over to put Whitby in the lead. This is how it stayed even though Young had a try disallowed for losing the ball in his stomach.
This was a mammoth display in defence from Whitby who now sit on the top of the league.
North Shields have a game in hand but the title will go down to the wire.
Both teams are virtually promoted to the league above - one more win will seal it for the Maroons.
Passage to India man of the match: Andy Morley; match sponsor: Fusco Ltd