Over the past few seasons, a fixture between Rockcliff and Tynedale has always been a close, exciting encounter and the U13s County Plate Final 2014-15 proved to be no different.
From the first whistle, Tynedale showed pace and flair as their very talented and quick centre gathered the ball to run 60 yards and score. Rockcliff were 7-0 down after 30 seconds. This then set the benchmark of what to expect and Rockcliff put their game plan into action. The forwards played the phases gaining valuable yards and putting Tynedale on the back foot, and then Charley Miller released the backs to add width to the game.
Slowly and patiently, they took the game into the Tynedale 22. Quick breaks up the blind side lead to Michael Hayden scoring to narrow the deficit.
Rockcliff were now gathering momentum and restricted Tynedale’s attacking play. They retained and recycled the ball effectively and the backs started to break the defensive lines, but were unable to get past the last line of defence. Their enthusiasm to attack led to a few errors and eventually gave away a penalty. Quick thinking from Tyndale left Rockcliff chasing their dangerous centre who went over for another try.
Not disheartened Rockcliff took the game back to Tynedale and their defence was finally breached by an unstoppable run from Chris Parvin who had the game of his life.
With the game poised, every tackle counted with massive hits coming in from Finlay Thompson, George Barrett, Luke Pickerill and Jude Noble. Superb interplay by the Rockcliff back-row lead to George Barrett going over to score and putting them into a slender lead of 15-12 at half time.
Following the half-time break, the Rockcliff backs started to exert pressure, with quick hands and hitting gaps to get beyond the gain line, they took the game deep into the Tynedale half. Nathan Stewart showed strength and speed but was stopped just short, however the Rockcliff back row were there to collect and Jude Noble went over to increase the advantage.
Tynedale came back with strength and passion and the Rockcliff’s tackling had to be strong and decisive. Tackles from Ewan Foster, Sam Orton and Charley Miller were clinical and temporarily halted the Tynedale charge, however eventually the pressure proved too much and Tynedale closed the gap to 20-19.
With one point in it, the excitement and speed of the game increased to another level. The heart and bravery shown by both teams was incredible. Both sets of supporters were now at fever pitch and an instinctive reaction lead to Tynedale being awarded a penalty which was converted to hand the advantage back to them.
With five minutes to go Alex Potter, who had worked relentlessly throughout the game and was awarded Man of the Match, took it upon himself the drive into the heart to the Tynedale forwards. This inspired the other forwards with Adam Woods and Matthew Brister battering holes through the defensive line. Alex Potter picked up again and using every ounce of strength, he was within 5 meters of the try line, however held up. The ball came back on the Rockcliff side and rather than attack the fringes, the Rockcliff forwards rolled the maul to devastating effect. With Matthew Brister in control, the ball was secure and the maul rumbled forward. It was left to Captain, Jude Noble to ground the ball for the winning try.