Whitley Bay Rockcliff 30-34 Ponteland
Rockcliff were edged out by a narrow margin in an entertaining Northumberland County Senior Plate game against opposition from Durham and Northumberland Division 1.
The Red and Golds got off the mark first, when Michael Hansen slotted home an early penalty, and then Rob Straker dotted down for the first try of the game and an 8-0 lead.
Ponteland responded with two converted tries, both scored by Elliott Blain, and converted by Adam Laws.
As half time approached, Rob Hamilton reduced the margin to one point when he scored Rockcliff’s second try of the match and 13-14 at the break.
Early in the second half, Liam Bowman finished off an excellent driving maul from the pack to score in the left hand corner to put Rockcliff back in front at 18-14.
Courtney West responded for Ponteland,converted by John McConnell to put the visitors ahead at 18-21, but the advantage swung Rockcliff’s way when Mal Donald scampered through from close range for 23-21.
John McDonnell slotted home a penalty to edge Ponteland back in front, and then Larry Mew scored, converted by McConnell, to open up an eight point lead at 23-31.
Again Rockcliff responded well, and Rob Hamilton scored his second, and Rockcliff’s fifth try of the game, converted by Hansen to reduce the gap to one only point with full time approaching.
A final spell of pressure from Ponteland forced a penalty which McConnell stuck home, and despite a final flurry, Rockcliff couldn’t close the gap.
Rockcliff can take a lot of positives from this performance into the opening Durham and Northumberland Division 2 game at Ashington next Saturday, having scored five tries to Ponteland’s four.