Hartlepool RFC 19-31 Rockcliff
Whitley Bay Rockcliff 31
Rockcliff travelled to Mayfield Park to take on Durham and Northumberland division two promotion rivals Hartlepool, and came away with a valuable bonus point win.
On a wet and windy day, and with the slope of the pitch in their favour, Rockcliff took full advantage of the conditions to build up a 23 0 first half lead.
Niall Stokes marked his return to action following a lay off though injury, with an unconverted try after five minutes.
Rhys Johnstone then slotted home a penalty for 8 0. Harry Ramage and Andrew Webster added a try apiece to extend the lead, with Michael Hansen adding the extras to Webster’s score , converting with a cool drop kick.
Johnstone had the final say of the half when he kicked his second penalty of the game for 23 0 at the break.
Hartlepool, with the conditions now in their favour, came out strongly in the second half, but it was Rockcliff who scored first. Dale Harrison touched down for the vital fourth try, securing the bonus point.
Then followed two tries from Hartlepool, one converted, as they strove to close the gap in an increasingly fractious half in which Rockcliff picked up one red andtwo yellow cards.
Hansen kept Rockcliffs momentum going with a penalty for 31 12, but Hartlepool had the final say with a late converted try and 31 19 at no side.
The result keeps Rockcliff at the top of the table, just ahead of promotion rivals North Shields , Hartlepool and Gosforth, who Rockcliff face at home next week.