Vikings repel the Percy invaders

Rockcliffe 2nd XV 29-24 Percy Park 3rd XV

Tuesday, 26th March 2019, 1:05 pm
Updated Tuesday, 26th March 2019, 1:08 pm

In a gripping game , the Vikings withstood a second half rally from the Pumas to win the Northumberland RU Junior Challenge Shield for the second time in three years.

The Pumas were on the front foot in the early exchanges, but the Vikings were first on the score board through Matthew Daly, the chance to bundle the ball over the line for 5-0.

Park’s backline looked dangerous though, and Dan Jackson ran the ball in from 30m out for the equalising score.

From the restart, Rockcliff worked the ball back down field, forcing the Pumas defence to concede a penalty which Jack Bland slotted home to edge the Vikings back in front.

Again Percy hit back and former Rockcliff star Jonny Gould scored in the right hand corner for 8-10.

The Vikings responded with a period of pressure in the Pumas half, and they finally cracked their defence when Matthew Brister cut inside his marker to score. Bland was on target with the conversion, and Rockcliff were 15-10 in front.

Rockcliff kept up the pressure and in the last ten minutes of the half they were awarded two penalties, which Bland slotted home, giving the Vikings a 21-10 lead at the break.

At the start of the second half Ben Butler went over the line for 26-10. This was followed by more pressure leading to a penalty in front of the posts and Bland hit the target again for 29-10 with 30 minutes left to play.

This stirred the Pumas into action, and they responded with two tries from Nat Walder and Connor Rogerson, both converted, to pull themselves back into contention at 29-24 with only ten minutes remaining.

A frantic finalesaw the rattled Vikings recompose themselves, and keeping the ball tight, they eventually worked their way back into the Pumas half, running the clock down to no side, and captain Simon Cormack, an inspirational presence throughout the game, lifted the Cup.