A penalty at the death saw an out of sorts Rockcliff to an unlikely win against a North Shields side whose performance belies their league position.
And with the win Rockcliff secured four vauable league points and held on to the annual Malcolm Flockton Trophy.
Injuries, work, and family commitments had forced Rockcliff coach Jack Lambert to make several changes to the team that had performed well against Hartlepool BBOB the previous week.
With the trophy at stake as well as local bragging rights, the crowd, with a large Rock contingent, saw Matthew Bradley, Andrew Moore, Thomas Dawson, Stu Thomson, Liam Bowman, Chris Keen, Josh Donnelly, and Sam Sterling in the forwards, Dan Simpson, Andrew Webster, Steven Scott, Ricki Hasnip, Dan O’Sullivan, Andrew Telford, and Ryan McLeod in the backs.
Warming the bench was Drew Taylor, alongside debutants Sean Wood, and Kieran Lydall.
After a minute’s silence in respect of Malcolm Flockton, a player who had represented both clubs, the game got under way and early pressure from Rockcliff saw Stu Thompson put Steven Scot in to score for 5-0 after eight minutes.
Shields responded with a series of attacks from which they eventually worked their way up the park, and on 25 minutes Mark Paul touched down, converted brilliantly by Scott Rendles to put Shields 7-5 up.
Rendles increased the lead when he slotted home a penalty for 10-5.
North Shields suffered a set back as the first half drew to a close as a player was yellow carded, and Rockcliff took advantage with Scott scoring his second try of the day to draw the scores level.
Then Dan O’Sullivan burst through following up a brilliant chip by Rikki Hasnip to put the Red and Golds 15-10 up at the break.
With their numbers restored, Shields opened the second half strongly and pressed Rockcliff back into their 22.
Nine minutes into the half it was Rockcliff’s turn to have a player sin binned, and the home side took advantage as Ryan Ramsay scored, converted by Rendles to put the Blue and Whites ahead 17-15.
Rockcliff huffed and puffed to get back into the match, but Shields’ confidence was growing and Ian Hardisty was proving to be a handful in midfield.
As the match drew to a close the outcome hung on two penalty opportunities.
North Shields had forced a kickable penalty which came back off the woodwork, and from the resultant play they won another penalty which they opted to run rather than kick again.
Rockcliff scrambled the ball clear in defence and worked their way up the pitch and were awarded a penalty 20 metres out, and Andrew Webster slotted the ball home with what proved to be the last kick of the game for an 18-17 win.