Whitley Bay Rockcliff maintained their second place in Durham and Northumberland Division with a bonus point win over Whitby, with young Ryan Yellop stealing the show with a superb hat-trick of tries.
Coach Jack Lambert welcomed Whitby to Hillheads on a fine spring day, where the hard work the groundstaff put in during the week resulted in a fine flat playing surface ideally suited to the speedy Rockcliff backs.
Yellop was brought into the team for the injured Andrew Telford, playing alongside Josh Donnelly, Ricki Hasnip, Bryan Stewart, Steven Scott, Jordan Anderson, Andrew Webster, and Lewis Partis.
And Yellop revelled in the space and ball provided.
A forward platform provided by Matthew Bradley, Kai Downey-Stevenson, Thomas Dawson, Stuart Thomson, Liam Bowman, Neil Thornton, Chris Keen, and Niall Stokes, ensured that quick clean ball was sped out to the lightning Red and Gold backs.
The first try was a result of the forward domination by the under-rated Rockcliff scrum, pushing back Whitby who after continuous infringements were penalised by the referee who awarded a penalty try converted by Webster, one for the forwards.
Young Yellop then came into his own with two superb tries, showing his speed and step, pulling the full-back and beating him for pace for try one and then stepping inside for try two, both converted by returning skipper Andrew Webster.
Loose forward Chris Keen went over for a great try when he spotted a gap and used his pace to smash over and then Webster went over after good hands from the back line to secure the bonus point before half-time.
With the forwards dominating and the backs moving well, the large crowd waited in anticipation for Steven Scott to get his obligatory try, but it failed to come, his target of 30 in the season just out of reach, but Rockcliff still have some important games coming where he can hopefully do the deed.
Hooker Kai- Downey Stevenson then went over for a try, showing his versatility, before Yellop danced through the Whitby defence to complete his hat-trick. Both were converted by the accurate boot of Webster.
The final try was scored by Donnelly, who broke to go over in the corner carrying the Whiby winger on his back.
Whitby finally got on the board, and deservedly so, as they never gave up despite the scoreline.
Despite the display by the backs, second row Thompson was voted man of the match.
Rockcliff’s next game is a cup match, and then they resume league action, facing Ashington away on March 29 in what promises to be a tough encounter. They then face league leaders Ryton at home on April 5.
All players are asked to report for training on Tuesday and Thursday.
New players of all ages and ability are welcome. For further information contact the club on (0191) 251 3704 or visit www.rockcliffrfc.co.uk