Missed opportunities cost severely depleted Rockcliff side

Rockcliff travelled to promoted Winlaton with a much-changed side, once again suffering injuries and illness.

Seventeen travelled, with young David Neasham playing despite being sick, coach Jack Lambert rang the changes and called on the last fit players at the club to do their stuff for the Red and Golds.

With four teenagers in the squad, Lambert started the following against the experienced Winlaton: Dan Atkinson, Dougie Hall, Drew Hayton, Chris Keen, Dan Timney, Stu Thomson, Dan Simpson, and the versatile Josh Donnelly at eight in front of Neasham, and making his debut Conor Ball, Leroy Wilson on the wing, Dan Bomken, and Dan O’sullivan in the centre, and Andrew Telford at full-back. On the bench were Andrew Moore, an injured Ryan McLeod, and Kai Downey-Stevenson.

Kicking down the hill Rock soon got across the whitewash with Andrew Telford finishing off a fine flowing move.

The Winlaton team responded with a forward maul leading to a try.

Rockcliff at this stage were tearing holes in the Winlaton team, and spurned two opportunities to increase the score before Stu Thomson burst over from the kick-off to put Rockcliff back in front.

Simon Ayre, playing at No. 10 in place of the injured captain Andrew Webster, knocked over a penalty and minutes later converted Andrew Telford’s second try, again after a good Stu Thomson break.

Back came the home side and driving up the hill went over for another forward try, which was converted to leave the half-time score in favour of the Red and Golds at 20-12.

In the second half Rockcliff were kicking up the hill and missed the opportunity to run in another two tries when ideally placed.

This came back to haunt them in the last ten minutes as Winlaton’s pack twice trundled over to take the lead at 22-20.

Rock still had a chance and swept upfield only to fumble the ball again when the line beckoned.

Next weekend Rockcliff play their last home match of the season at Hillheads when they entertain high flying Redcar, who still have a chance of promotion.