A CLOSE encounter on a sodden heavy pitch saw an unlucky Rockcliff XV lose out in the final minutes to a controversial Blyth try.
There were a few changes to the team that played at Prudhoe with lock Stu Thomson starting in place of Alex Meadows and the return of Andrew Webster at full-back in place of Jonny Birkett.
Also in the starting line-up were backs Chris Waddell and Dan Johnstone.
The game started with crunching defensive tackles from Rock forwards, in particular captain Drew Hayton.
The first half was a low scoring affair with Blyth missing a number of penalties after Webster, returning to his kicking duties, had given the Red and Gold’s the lead with a penalty.
Blyth had more of the possession yet could not covert that into points – they missed a total of seven kicks throughout the match.
With 40 minutes of the first half up, Blyth got a penalty chance to make the score level, and this one they did not miss.
The second half saw Rock kicking into the low sun and after ten minutes they had conceded two more penalties with one converted.
At 6-3, mobile hooker Neil Mather burst down the blindside, setting up the forwards who moved the ball up to the Blyth try line. After various phases of forward pressure scrum-half Dan Simpson was on hand to go over for a well worked try.
The try of the game came five minutes later when stand-off Josh Donnelly made a break and was well supported by the forwards, who again recycled the ball for Donnelly to touch down. Webster duly converted.
At 6-15 Rockcliff were unable to close out the game and withstand the pressure Blyth were putting them under, and as a result a well worked try brought the score back to 11-15 with only minutes remaining.
Further pressure saw a Donnelly kick charged down behind the Rock try line and despite Webster getting to the ball to kill it the referee awarded a try to Blyth as one of their backs had also touched the ball and the referee adjudged this to be before Webster had.
Coach Tommy Rendles had only praise for his team, who deserved the bonus point they got.
The Red and Golds look forward to this weekend’s game at home to Seaton Carew.
WB ROCKCLIFF RFC 2snd 12 GOSFORTH RFC 3rds 39
The Vikings performed well against Gosforth’s development squad, and held their own until the second half when Gosforth pulled away.
The scores were close at half time, with Rob Burns scoring and converting a try as the sides changed ends with Gosforth just in front at 10-7.
Winger Chris Keen added the Vikings second try, but they could not hold the green and whites. There were impressive debuts for Jack Lambert and James Williams, while Sam Heppell at scrum half marshalled his pack well.
n Rockcliff Touch Rugby is back in training for the new season, with senior sessions on Thursdays at 6.30pm and junior sessions on Sunday mornings.
Touch rugby is a non contact version of the game, played by teams of six players, and the sides are made up of male and female players.
New players are more than welcome to attend, so if anyone is interested in joining the fun, contact the club on (0191) 251 3704 or at www.rockcliffrfc.co.uk