ON A typically wet and windy summer day, Whitley Bay Rockcliff succumbed to a Wallsend side who showed determination and desire to get the result in this derby and first match of the season.
All Rockcliff’s points came in the second half, with captain Andrew Webster notching the first of two penalties to open the scoring for the Red and Golds on 47 minutes.
Ten minutes later Adi McKeown scored Rockcliff’s only try after a great push from a solid scrum.
Webster completed the scoring after 65 minutes.
The Red and Golds were unable to convert the possession and territory they enjoyed into points, letting Wallsend off the hook after coming back into the game late in the second half, conceding a try only seconds after taking the lead.
On the positive side, there was an excellent first team debut by Thomas Dawson, while Johnny Birkett had a good second half.
All in all this was a close match played in terrible conditions, which could have gone either way but Wallsend ran out victors.
There is a long way to go this season for Rockcliff who have at least notched a first point, so onwards and upwards. A result against Redcar in the next match will be the ideal tonic.
Whitley Bay Rockcliff RFC 2nd XV 10
Wallsend RFC 2nd XV 13
THE Vikings got the season off to a good start but lost a hard fought game to a last minute drop goal.
They dominated the game and had Wallsend pinned back from the off, and early on fly-half Rhys Johnstone missed a penalty after knocking it against the upright.
After a number of breakaways down each wing, winger Lewis Partis broke down the outside and passed the ball to supporting centre Richie Owen who jogged it in for the try just wide of the posts. Johnstone missed the conversion, striking the same post as earlier.
Minutes before the break, Rockcliff thought they had another try, again through Owen, the ball crossing the line before being dragged back. However, this was missed the referee who said it was held up and blew for half time.
As the second half began, Rockcliff picked up where they left off. However, Wallsend managed to pull one out of the bag with a quick offload to the winger who scored near the touchline.
Not to be outdone, just minutes later Lewis Partis and Owen combined again; with Partis offloading inside and Owen scoring the try in emphatic fashion. The conversion was again just wide.
The game became an end to end contest with long punts and quick breakaways spreading the play across the pitch.
Wallsend managed to level the score against the run of play, with a quick penalty worked out wide, making use of the overlap to get the try with no conversion.
As it came down to the final minutes, the Rockcliff pack made their first error in an otherwise perfect game, allowing a scrum 10 meters out to go through 90 degrees for the turnover.
The resulting scrum saw the Wallsend fly half drop into the pocket and knock the ball over for three points.
The Vikings pushed on looking for a try to snatch the win but in the slippy conditions the ball was knocked on by a Rockcliff forward allowing Wallsend to clear the lines for the win.