Rockcliff maintain promotion push

Whitley Bay Rockcliff v Sunderland, Durham/Northumberland League Division 2, Whitley Bay, 13 January 2018
Whitley Bay Rockcliff v Sunderland, Durham/Northumberland League Division 2, Whitley Bay, 13 January 2018

Rockcliff 24-6 Sunderland

Rockcliff maintained their promotion drive with a hard fought victory over Sunderland on Saturday.

The Red and Golds started strongly, missing two golden opportunities to score tries in the corner, but Sunderland were well organised and resisted Rockcliff’s attacks with stern defence and some good teamwork.

Then, against the run of play, the Sunderland 15 and his trusty left peg smashed over a penalty for 3 -0, in what was possibly the first time that the visitors had ventured into Rockcliff’s half.

Late into the half Dan O’sullivan levelled the scores when he slotted home a magnificent penalty from the touch line which caught the wind and sailed between the posts for 3-3 with half time approaching.

It was then that after a sustained bout of pressure that Rockcliff struck; a Sunderland clearance falling to Mark George who sped across the ground changing the angle of attack, carried on by a barrelling run by Liam Bowman, who fed Charlie Muzzlewhite who crashed over the whitewash to score a well worked try, converted by Dan O’Sullivan for 10 3.

More was to follow when again from pressure a Sunderland clearance went out to Andrew Webster who side stepped and waltzed his way through the mesmerised Sunderland defence to then throw an outrageously high pass to the tallest man on the pitch, Thomas Reid who finished the move with aplomb, converted by Simon Ayre for 17-3.

Sunderland responded with their second penalty before man of the match Niall Stokes finished off the scoring with a well deserved try, again converted by Simon Ayre.

Despite recording their tenth win of the season, Rockcliff have been edged into third place in the Durham and Northumberland 2 table, and next week’s opponents,Whitby, moved into second following their win at Richmondshire. Rockcliff have two games in hand over Whitby, however, so next week’s match in North Yorkshire will have a big impact on the final promotion positions.