Rockliff ‘post’ a narrow derby win

Whitley Bay Rockcliff v North Shields, Durham/Northumberland Division 2, Whitley Bay, 10 March 2018
Whitley Bay Rockcliff v North Shields, Durham/Northumberland Division 2, Whitley Bay, 10 March 2018

Rockcliff 15-13 North Shields

Rockcliff edged a closely fought league and Malcolm Flockton Cup derby against North Shields, but have the woodwork to thank as a last minute penalty bounced back off a post to ensure the victory.

The Red and Golds pressed forward from the kick off, working the ball through the phases against a resolute Shields defence and despite all their pressure they only had a 6-0 lead from two Andrew Webster penalties to count for their efforts.

North Shields then had a spell of control launching a series of attacks on the home line. A driving maul eventually led to Rockcliff collapsing it, and Jack Rendles atoned for an earlier miss when he slotted the penalty home for 6 3.

With both sides evenly matched and defending ferociously there was no further score by the break, but in the second half Shields flew out of the traps and had Rockcliff reeling with a series of forward drives from which Scott Rendles looped out a pass to Mark Hall who shipped the ball on to Matty Dockey and he dummied a pass out to the backs and dove through the gap to score the first try of the match, unconverted, for 8-6.

Rockcliff rallied and edged back in front with another two penalties from Webster, one a glorious effort from just inside the half way line, to go 12-8 in front.

Again Shields responded well, and with Rockcliff down to 14 men following a yellow card, Scott Rendles set up his brother Jack to finish off a move with their second try of the game to edge ahead by a single point.

With the game drawing to a close, Rockcliff were awarded another penalty which Webster again converted for 15 13. Launching a final flurry, Shields pressed again, eventually forcing a desperate Rockcliff defence to concede a penalty, and with the final kick of the game Jack Rendles effort hit the post and a last gap chance to win the game at the death was lost, much to Rockcliffs relief.

As a result of the victory Rockcliff cling on to second place in the Durham and Northumberland Division but now have Ryton coming up on the rails in third place, as Hartlepool losing ground after losing 65-3 at leaders Acklam. Next week Rockcliff travel to Whitby for another testing fixture.