ROCKCLIFF Vikings continued their terrific season by finishing 2011 with a bang and keeping up the pressure in the Northumberland RU River Blyth League with a well earned win after a closely fought match at Percy Park against the Pumas.
The game started with Rockcliff applying all the pressure until a break from ex-Rockcliff player Kai Stevenson gained Park precious ground and a cute offload allowed the centre to score wide for 5-0.
The Rockcliff pack dominated in the scrums, but Park made the best of the loose ball, and won ball in the rucks.
The rest of the first half saw no further score as both sides battled for supremacy.
The second half opened with Rockcliff on the back foot when the Vikings failed to capitalise from the kick-off, but after some excellent defence inside their 22, Rockcliff pushed up the pitch, eventually sending Andrew Telford over the line for the first Rockcliff score of the game, with no conversion, to level it 5-5.
In a repeat of the first try, Rockcliff again found themselves on the back foot, but hard work and determination paid off as Chris Keen managed to offload to winger Daniel Johnstone to score in the same spot as Telford, again too wide for the kick, for 5-10 to the Vikings.
Park missed two kickable penalties, but finally managed to break the Rockcliff defence again to score a try beneath the posts with an easy conversion, to edge ahead 12-10.
But it was Rockcliff who had the last word as Keen got a try of his own. An excellent break from outside the Park 22, just close enough for fly-half Rhys Johnstone to notch the extra two points, and the Vikings took the game 17-12.
Men of the match were full-back Andrew Telford, who had another outstanding performance with a try and a number of crunching tackles, and veteran Simon Tindall who proved again that age is just a number, putting in massive hits of his own.