Rockcliff battle to low scoring win at Seaton Carew

On a still but wet day Rockcliff travelled to Seaton Carew and fought their way to a low scoring win in an absorbing game.

Coach Jack Lambert must be sick of this season already, with a list of injured players longer than his young arm.

Another sickening blow was dealt when Tom Reid, who has been in excellent form, was carried of with a dislocated collarbone to spend time in Hartlepool University Hospital.

The injury list now extends to 25 and it is credit to the players from the Vikings whom have stepped up to the mark to keep the ball rolling.

Neil Mather, Andrew Moore, Dan Atkinson, Liam Bowman, Sean Wood, Tom Reid, Chris Keen, and Niall Stokes were the forwards, the backs being Dan Simpson, Josh Donnelly, Ricki Hasnip, Sam Stirling, Charlie Muzzlewhite, Simon Tindall and Jordan Anderson who was returning from injury.

Starting on the bench were Charlie Murray, Vikings captain Gary Lewis, and Nick Dalton. Muzzlewhite was making his debut for Rockcliff.

The day was cool and still, the ground very wet as the game kicked off and immediately Rockcliff took the game to the Seaton five-metre line, forcing the defence to concede an early lineout.

An excellent throw from hooker Morgan found Reid who, with the support of his pack, drove the ball to the Seaton try line where captain Bowman crashed over.

For the next 20 minutes Rockcliff ran the game but failed to take chances to finish the game off when there was the opportunity, and Seaton Carew only got into the Rockcliff half twice in the first 40 minutes.

With skipper Andrew Webster out with a broken hand, Donnelly took on the kicking duties and was unfortunate to miss a penalty, but otherwise he had an excellent game releasing his backs and feeding some good forward running lines.

With the score 5-0 at half-time there was always the chance that the home team would come back into the match, and that was exactly what occurred and the second half saw an excellent display of defensive rugby from the Red and Golds.

With the influential Reid going off injured Lewis came on and it took a while for the team to find their rhythm again, but they did so while at the same time keeping Seaton Carew away from the try line.

With the clock running down and Seaton Carew getting evermore impatient with the referee, a couple of sin binnings followed, one from each side; the Seaton man for dissent, and Rockcliff veteran Mather for a blatant side entry and killing the ball whilst taking a couple of minutes off the clock.

Rockcliff held out for a vital win that leaves them lying in fifth place in Durham and Northumberland Division 2, just outside the promotion places.

Next week Rockcliff are at home to Winlaton, and coach Lambert will be hoping for good news on the injuries front to bolster his depleted squad.