Rockcliff run in seven tries against Seaton Carew

Against a physical Seaton Carew side, Whitley Bay Rockcliff ran in seven tries in a return to the free flowing rugby form of earlier in the season.

The weather was kind at Hillheads as a large crowd turned up to see Rockcliff earn the 44-10 win in the Durham and Northumberland Division 2 fixture.

Coach Jack Lambert was again forced into changes, with skipper Andrew Webster returning to the bench with Neil Mather and Alex Meadows, Bryan Stewart came in at stand-off with Kai Downey-Stevenson and Ricki Hasnip at centre, Jonny Earnshaw on the wing, try machine Steven Scott on the other wing, and Chris Waddell coming in for his first match at full-back.

The forwards welcomed back Leon Smart and Neil Thornton to the powerhouse, behind Matt Bradley, Steve Common, and Thomas Dawson. Josh Donnelly, Chris Keen, and Niall Stokes were the dynamic loose forwards.

Expecting a tough match, Rockcliff got exactly that in the opening exchanges as both teams won turnover ball, and both sets of forwards were crunching into each other.

But Rockcliff these days possess some fast moving players, and with 12 minutes gone, after some good handling, Scott set up Donnelly who in turn fed Downey-Stevenson who sent Earnshaw in to the try line.

Five minutes later Hasnip was over for his first try, again after some flowing rugby. Seaton Carew fought back when a knock-on allowed one of their players to drop on the ball for an unconverted try to make it 10-5.

A stalemate ensued for a period until Donnelly again showed his versatility by banging over a penalty to make it 13 5.

Once again the forwards set up the ball and after a great break from the ubiquitous Donnelly, Earnshaw moved the ball back to Donnelly who passed to Stewart who crashed over to score, leaving Donnelly a simple conversion and a half -time score of 20-5 to Rockcliff.

With Rockcliff going down the hill in the second half against a tiring team, Scott was in his element, scoring a hat-trick of tries in the second half, two from deep in his own half, and he can feel unlucky not to be named man of the match.

In between the Scott hat-trick, Chris Keen came up with his first try of the season to cap a fine performance.

Undefeated Rockcliff travel to second placed Sunderland next week in what will be a good test of their progress this season.