Sunderland 25-27 Rockcliff
This match was a great advert for Durham and Northumberland Division 2 rugby, with two fully committed sides playing in good spirit in front of vocal support for both teams.
And in what was always going to be a tough encounter for Rockcliff, Rhys Johnstone slotted home a penalty at the death to clinch a vital away win for the Red and Golds at fourth placed Sunderland.
Rockcliff started well and took the lead when Ryan Rapillo went over in the corner for 0-5.
Andrew Webster then added a second try, converted by Rhys Johnstonefor 0-12.
The home side rallied and pressure saw them score two tries of their own, which took the wind out of the visitors’ sails at 14-12.
Sunderland then kicked a penalty for 17-12
Rockcliff then uncharacteristically missed a few tackles and the home side capitalised to score again, giving them a 22-12 lead at half-time.
In the second half Harry Ramage scored a trademark try, leaving a trail of destruction to reduce the deficit to 22-17. Sunderland scored a second penalty (25-17) to keep the score board ticking over but as the second half grew on, it was all Rockcliff.
Michael Hansen then joined the fray, and with the wind now on their favour, Rockcliff kept pressing forward.
The home side defended gallantly, but unfortunately incurred a number of penalties with several players sent to the sin bin. A interception from Johnstone saw him power forward with a Sunderland player hanging off his neck. This was too much for the referee who awarded a penalty try which took the score to 25-24.
The tension mounted, and with only 60 seconds remaining a penalty was awarded which Johnstone kicked to dramatically win the game.