A POOR start cost Rockcliff dearly in a narrow 33-27 defeat at Ashington.
Conceding two converted tries in the opening ten minutes, the red and golds recovered and by the break they were just two points adrift at 19-17.
Skipper Andrew Webster had got Rockcliff on the scoreboard with a well struck penalty, and then he scored and converted a try to bring Rockcliff back into contention when Leon Smart stole Ashington lineout ball on their five metre line, and the pack drove to the line.
Simon Cormack peeled off the maul to go for the line but was stopped illegally and ever alert scrum half Dan Simpson took a quick tap penalty and span the ball to Webster who jinked through under the posts from the 22 metre line.
Leon Smart was next on the scoreboard for Rockcliff following a scrum inside their own 22 metre zone.
The bigger Ashington pack got the shove on but number eight Jonny Birkett picked and popped to Simpson who then hit Webster wide and he jinked through several tackles before being taken down on the half way line.
Rockcliff forwards cleared the ball out and Simpson throws a wide pass to Simon Tindall in the fly-half slot. Tindall threw a 40-yard pass to Steven Scott on the wing who beat four men only to be tackled on the Ashington try line, but Smart was in support to pick and burrow through to score, converted by Webster.
In the second half Rockcliff kept up their running rugby, and were rewarded when from an Ashington lineout on halfway the ball was overthrown and collected by Thomas Dawson who fed the ball out to Karl Briggs who passed on to Webster.
Webster then span it to Birkett running into a gap, and he then beat two men and drew a third before popping the ball to Tindall in support on the wing. Tindall dummied the winger and straightened and crashed over the line.
Webster converted and added a further penalty for an impressive 17 point haul but once again Rockcliff were narrowly edged out.