FIELDING a settled pack for the first time this season, Whitley Bay Rockcliff RFC 1st XV won their third game of the season in front of the biggest crowd at Hillheads so far this year.
The versatile Josh Donnelly, playing at stand-off in the absence of regular outside half Andrew Webster, slotted home a penalty after a good spell of pressure forced the visitors to concede the free kick, allowing the home side to take an early 3-0 advantage.
However, Hartlepool came back with a converted try to edge ahead 7-3.
But Rockcliff battled back and following a good drive by the pack, Brian Stuart and Jonny Birkett combined with some slick handing to send Donnelly in to score for an unconverted try.
But once again the visitors responded as they edged back in front.
This time from a penalty of their own.
But the red and golds refused to give up and outside-centre Stuart snapped a surprise drop goal to restore the home advantage at 11-10.
Donnelly extended Rockcliff’s lead with a late penalty for 14-10 and then the home side withstood an all out Hartlepool assault on the line as they tried to salvage something from the game.
The Rockcliff defence stood firm, with Craig Tomlinson putting in some last ditch tackles to keep the visitors out.
Louis Partis took the honours as Rockcliff’s man of the match, but the whole team can take credit for an well earned victory.
ROCKCLIFF MINI RUGBY
ROCKCLIFF mini section are organising a five-mile sponsored walk at 1.30pm on Sunday, February 27, in aid of dressing room refurbishment and the Blue Lamp Foundation.
Pc David Rathband, closely connected to the Blue Lamp Foundation, will be there in support, along with members of Tynemouth United Football Club.
The route will be from the war memorial on Whitley Bay Links to Tynemouth and back.
More than 500 people are expected to take part, ranging from the mini players themselves, family members, junior and senior members of Rockcliff, lead by a group carrying a set of rugby posts.
There will be a collection the way and also a raffle of a ball and shirt kindly donated by Newcastle Falcons.
Anyone wishing to donate should contact Simon Forster on 07908 662392.