Whitley Bay Rockcliff 17 Acklam 46
There was no repeat of last weeks heroics at Bishop Auckland as Rockcliff crashed to a heavy home defeat.
Unavailability through injuries, work and other commitments, meant that coach Jack Lambert was forced to make a raft of changes for this match with Durham and Northumberland Division 2 promotion rivals Acklam.
Matthew Bradley, Andrew Moore, Drew Hayton, Liam Bowman, Stu Thomson, Tom Reid, Chris Keen and Jonny Birkett started in the forwards, Dan Simpson, Josh Donnelly, Steven Scott, Ricki Hasnip, Nick Dalton, Andrew Telford, and Simon Tindall made up the backs, with Neil Mather, Sean Wood, and Andrew Webster on the bench.
With kick off brought forward to 2.15pm following the clocks going back, the game started with the unusual sight of Josh Donnelly missing a tackle and the Acklam forwards went over for a try in the first 90 seconds; perhaps Rockcliff were still waiting for the 3 o’clock kick off. Back came Rockcliff to score a try of their own when acting skipper Liam Bowman barrelled over for an unconverted try. At this stage the Rock forwards had the opposition on the back foot, and nobody in the crowd, including the large Acklam following could see what was about to happen.
The Acklam backs are a pacy bunch, and when given the opportunity to run the ball they did just that, finding a weakness in the Rockcliff team that they ruthlessly and mercilessly exposed, scoring four tries in 10 minutes to more or less seal the outcome of the match with the Red and Golds 31 - 5 down after 20 minutes.
The second half saw Rockcliff score two further tries through Steven Scott and Andrew Telford with one converted and two more from Acklam but there were no excuses, Acklam deserved their win.
Rockcliff are suffering at the moment with injuries and other commitments, resulting in players playing out of position but none the less, the players will want to prove that they are better than todays performance. They need to regroup, get the injuries sorted, and find the spirit that was showed at Bishop Auckland the week before. They have a chance to atone next week, away to Hartlepool BBOB in the National Senior Vase competition.