Two tries from Bowman help set up Rockcliff win

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Rockcliff travelled to the most northerly club in Durham and Northumberland Division 2 and returned with the points in the penultimate game of a long and disjointed season.

Coach Jack Lambert’s team for the visit to Ashington was Drew Hayton, alongside Dougie Hall and Dan Timney, in the front row, with Leon Smart and newcomer Jethro Pearson, Chris Keen, Stu Thomson, and Liam Bowman completing the pack. David Neasham, returning skipper Andrew Webster, Keiran Lydall, Conor Ball, Simon Tindall, Simon Ayre and Andrew Telford completed the starting XV.

Andrew Moore, Steven Scott, returning after a long spell out, and the coach himself were on the bench.

Rockcliff started brightly and it was no surprise when after two minutes Bowman burst through the Ashington defence, pawing off defenders to take a well taken try which Ayre converted for 7-0.

The start was good and for the first 13 minutes Rockcliff looked to be in control, then Ashington responded by scoring an unconverted try, after which the game became disjointed with both teams bogged down in the centre of the pitch.

The Red and Golds started the second half like the first, on the front foot and pressing Ashington back.

Returning skipper Webster, with a trademark jinking run, broke through to hit the base of the posts for Rockcliff’s second try, again converted by Ayre for 14-5.

Bowman stretched the score further in the final quarter with a good forward try, pushing the larger Ashington pack back over the whitewash for 19-5.

The last five minutes was played in the Rockcliff half with Ashington scoring a converted try to reduce the deficit to 19-12, but Rockcliff held out to take the points.

Debutant Pearson had a steady game and looks like a good prospect, youngsters Ball, Lydall and Neasham continue to improve and with more game time will continue to get better.

Bowman picked up the man of the match award for his two tries and barrelling performance at No.8.

Next week Rockcliff visit Wallsend for the final game of the season.