Rockcliff lose at home as Middlebrough claim bonus
Rockcliff 17Middlesbrough 43Rockcliff gave a good account of themselves against promotion candidates Middlesbrough, having the edge in possession but once again they gave their opponents a head start early in the game, and ultimately the visitor's hard running backline proved too much for the Red and Golds.
Middlesbrough got off to a good start with an early penalty from Andrew Baggott. Tries from Shaun Maloney and Jack McPhillips, both converted by Baggott,, saw the visitors race into a 0-17 lead with only 20 minutes on the clock.
Kai Downey reduced the deficit with an unconverted try, Johnstone’s attempt with the boot hitting a post.
As half time approached the game opened up, with promising breaks from both sides.
Brendan Hill went over for a converted Middlesbrough try as the score moved on to 5-24, although Rockcliff managed to reduce the deficit to 12-24 at the break when Dan Leach touched down, converted by Johnstone.
For the opening 20 minutes of the second half, Rockcliff dominated possession, pressing Middlesbrough back into their own half.
A series of penalties saw the Red and Golds work the ball to towards the Middlesbrough try line and they looked to have reduced the deficit when Jude Noble broke away from the side of rolling maul, only to be held up on the line.
They then suffered at back when good hands and direct running from Boro' saw them work the ball up field, with centre Peter Homan starting and finishing the move, securing a four try bonus point in the process.
Rockcliff kept up the pressure though, and had a second scoring attempt held up on the line. Eventually they were rewarded when, following further good play in the visitors twenty two, Dan Leach sniped through for his second try of the game, scoring to the left of the posts. Johnstone hit the post again with his conversion effort, and the score stood at 17-29.
But the visitors had the final say, with two converted scores in the final ten minutes, running out winners at 43-17.