Shields win trophy, points and bragging rights

NORTH Shields secured league points, the Malcolm Flockton Trophy and local bragging rights fro their game against Whitley Bay Rockcliff.

Shields welcomed their local rivals to Preston Playing Fields as they looked to reclaim the Malcolm Flockton Memorial Trophy which Rockcliff won at their place last year, as well as league points.

The trophy is contested each year in memory of a former player and popular member of both clubs.

Shields were looking to bounce straight back from their undeserved defeat against Wallsend the previous week.

A minute’s silence was held in Malcolm’s memory prior to kick-off.

Shields opened the game with some excellent attacking rugby and some aggressive tackling, noticeably from youngster Anthony Jordon.

The quick start by the Blues enabled good ball for the backs to express themselves and within the opening ten minutes Rockcliff conceded a penalty on the ten-metre line which Gav Duffy successfully converted.

After this Rockcliff began to take the game to Shields and had some good individual runs themselves which ended up in Shields territory.

The referee awarded a penalty to Rockcliff that was narrowly missed.

From here Shields began to play as a team with some great attacking play by the forwards and some quick hands from the backs.

Due to infringement Shields earned themselves another penalty which Duffy converted.

Shields were starting to dominate the game and this looked like it could be the Blues’ day, however, Rockcliff had different ideas.

Within a few minutes Rockcliff were in Shields territory and played some good loose rugby with the strong running forwards taking the ball on.

Shields did put up a good fight and tackled every red and gold shirt, but flanker Ben Dalton threw a punch and got sent to the sin bin and this helped Rockcliff overpower Shields in a maul that was driven over the line for a try by Ross Higginson.

This seemed to be the turning point in the game as the Blues once again started to play some excellent rugby.

With some great lineout ball courtesy of Andrew Leitch, Shields opted for the catch and drive.

From the resulting rolling maul the ball ended up in skipper Mark Hall’s hands who powered his way over the line, assisted by Jordon.

Duffy once again kicked the conversion to make it 13-5 to Shields in the last play of the half.

The second half did not disappoint either as the hard intensive rugby was carried over by both teams.

Rockcliff started well and after they controlled the majority of play in the opening ten minutes, and a penalty from Rhys Johnstone brought the score back to 13-8.

Rockcliff were then reduced to 14 men as one of their players got sent to the bin for a combination of punches on Harry Watson.

Shortly after this Rockcliff narrowly missed a penalty from the halfway line.

The visitors were playing some good rugby and they scored a great individual try from Steven Scott to level the scores.

As the game was starting to be controlled by Rockcliff, Shields centre Iain Finlay charged down a kick that lead to a lineout.

The Shields pack won the Rockcliff ball and after a huge push from all eight forwards and fly-half Duffy, they drove Rockcliff over their own line with hooker Watson claiming the try, which was converted by Duffy.

In the final 15 minutes Rockcliff threatened the Shields line on numerous occasions which saw the Blues scrum-half John Good sent to the bin after being judged offside.

Rockcliff took advantage again as Andrew Webster scored to bring them to within two points.

With five minutes left on the clock, Rockcliff put pressure on Shields, however, some outstanding defensive work stopped them from gaining ground.

Second row replacement Barry Elliott did concede a penalty in the last play of the game which Rockcliff decided to run rather than go for posts.

Fly-half Webster went for a drop goal and narrowly missed to give Shields the victory and the trophy.

Man of the match was Shields hooker Watson who has grown as a player in the last few months immensely.

A special mention also went to Jordon, who shows real potential and gives 100 per cent on and off the ball.

This weekend Shields take the trip to Seaton Carew where they look to build on this performance.