Gosforth 7-58 Rockcliff
Five tries in the last ten minutes, including a hat-trick from Harry Ramage, put the seal on a good day at the office for Rockcliff, as they maintained pole position in Durham and Northumberland Division 2.
The game started with a minutes silence in memory of Clem Hayton, a Rockcliff club stalwart who had sadly passed away during the week.
Rockcliff then got off to a great start when Craig Hamilton scored an unconverted try in the first minute for a 5 0 lead.
Gosforth responded quickly, and their scrum half caught the Red and Gold rearguard napping when he broke away down the blindside from a scrum to score a converted try to edge the green and whites 7-5 up.
A Rhys Johnstone penalty on 14 minutes restored Rockcliff’s advantage, but the game was finely balanced at this stage and it took a further 15 minutes before Rockcliff increased their lead when winger Charlie Muzzlewhite rounded his opposite number to score. Johnstone added the extras for 15-7.
On the stroke of half time a great offload from Steven Pentland put Johnstone through to score, and he converted his own try for a 22-7 score at the break.
Rockcliff were striving for a fourth and bonus point try, which eventually came with 65 minutes on the clock when Henry Cotton charged down a clearance kick and touched down. Five minutes later a powerful forward drive gave Rob Hamilton a chance to score, and in doing so he opened up a 25 point lead with ten minutes left.
From the restart Ryan Rapallo ran the ball in from the half way line, and Johnstone converted for 39-7. Four minutes later great hands by Andrew Moore put Harry Ramage through to score under the posts for the first of a hat-trick of tries in the last five minutes of the game.
His second came when he finished off a flowing backs move, and the third came in injury time when he powered through the home defence to score. Johnstone converted all three and the game closed out at 58-7.
Next week Rockcliff are at home to neighbours and second placed North Shields in what should be a closely fought contest.