FOURTH placed Ashington made the journey down the A19 to Hillheads in confident mood after some notable recent victories, with their large pack looking to repeat some dominant performances against a Rockcliff side that has been misfiring all season.
Again changes due to injury, sickness, and holiday meant Rockcliff had to rely on the squad stepping up to the plate, with Simon Cormack and Mick Knott starting in the pack behind Geoff Bowman, Steve Common, and Drew Hayton, with the loose forwards Jonny Birkett and Josh Donnelly while Liam Bowman was at eight.
Daniel Simpson returned at scrum-half, with the versatile skipper Andrew Webster stepping in at 12, young speedster Jordan Anderson coming in on the wing, and returning from Afghanistan, Anthony Williams, came in at 13.
Rockcliff started strongly up the slope into the wind and sun and rattled in two tries from Anderson within 14 minutes.
He stepped on the pace and burned past the static Ashington defence and stand-off Rhys Johnstone converted both.
This spurred the Ashington forwards and they came rumbling back, forcing two tries of their own, one converted, as the large pack built up momentum.
A penalty gave Johnstone the chance to increase the lead, and at half-time Rockcliff led 17-12.
What happened in the second half defies description as Rockcliff tore into Ashington, leaving them stunned, shocked, and totally outplayed.
Clever use of the rolling subs by coach Jack Lambert enabled the sin binning of Donnelly not to affect the scrum, Steve Common was outstanding, and his replacement Neil Mather again put his aging body on the line and performed heroically.
Young flier Anderson got his hat-trick from a kick through and great pick up, and fellow winger Steven Scott scored two tries, all three converted by Johnstone.
Full-back Richard Berne extended the lead when he joined the line to score a great try, and Birkett also scored one after the formerly dominant Ashington pack was pushed back five metres for a pick up and crash over try.
Webster slotted home the conversions for these last two scores.
The 52-12 win was a great team effort by Rockcliff with the forwards outstanding as they stuck to their task and turned the tables round. The backs looked dangerous every time they got the ball, and with two wingers with pace and ability all is not lost for the season.
Rockcliff now look forward to their visit to Prudhoe this weekend.
ASHINGTON RFC 2nds 19
WB ROCKCLIFF RFC 2nds 22
ROCKCLIFF Vikings notched a great win against Ashington seconds 22-19, their second win in a row.
Ashington opened the scoring with an early unvconverted try, but man of the match Harry Ramage redressed the balance and Chris Foster converted for 7-5.
Jonny Gould then aded a second try for Rockcliff, for 12-5.
Matty Dunbar gave Rocklciff a great start to the second half, touching down from the kick-off for 17-5, and Simon Tindall extended the lead before a late rally by Ashington saw them pull the deficit back to 22-19, but it was not enough to stop the Vikings taking the league points.