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Home > News > Whitley Bay Rockliff 20 - Seaham 10
Your News Whitley Bay Rockliff 20 - Seaham 10

Once again, Seaham found themselves the victim of circumstances beyond their control this weekend. They lost numerous players for numerous reasons and were forced to travel with a severely compromised team yet again.

Influential player-coach Jon Dye faced another week on the sidelines with a calf injury whilst fly half Jack McCallums broken thumb looks to have ended his season. To further complicate matters, Grant Dixon had injured himself playing in a midweek friendly for another club.

Their front row nightmare continued with Jonny Martin, Gary Lynn and Paul Scott all out injured. Steve Meir and John Dawson had work commitments and Andy Baxter and Damian Martinez failed to put in an appearance. Fortunately, they were able to rely on Matty Jackson and Andy Hogwood for propping duties with Dave Drinkwater supporting them from the bench.

Although stand-in fly half Rob Thorntons kick off fell short, Seaham expressed their intentions from the start of the game. They stole a nudge on the hosts pack and as their scrum half attempted to clear the ball he was flattened by James Ramshaws heavy tackle.

Seaham centre Graham Aldus made a storming run up the centre of the pitch in the 4th minute and made it all the way to the Rockcliff 22. Scrum half Brad Green was quick to support and attempted to ship a scoring pass inside but it was despairingly intercepted by one of the hosts defenders and he gleefully cleared his lines.

The hosts werent quite so fortunate in the eleventh minute when full back Glen Hardie was fed a pass in midfield and outstripped the defence before crossing in the corner for his first try of the season. His conversion attempt from the touchline fell just short but Seaham were buoyed by the score.

Mick Bland took a safe catch from the restart and fed his second row partner John Dixon. He then set off on a storming 40 metre run through the Rockcliff defence before being brought down. The hosts committed more men to the breakdown and turned the ball over to clear their lines.

Seaham had to endure some heavy pressure from the hosts mobile pack and found themselves pinned in their own half for long periods. With the hosts driving ever onwards, James Ramshaw stifled their momentum with a thumping tackle. Big prop Andy Hogwood then drove through the ruck and won the ball but one of the Seaham forwards went to the floor and conceded a penalty.

By the end of the first quarter Seaham seemed content to sit back on their lead and allow their hosts to run at them. Whilst the visitors defence was stern, their discipline was as poor as ever and they committed an offence at the breakdown to gift their hosts a shot at goal. Their fly half duly slotted the ball through the posts to reduce the lead to 5-3.

In the 24th minute Mick Bland attacked a ruck and turned possession over in his sides favour. The ball was popped off to Brad Green and he fed returning wing Joey Jones down the right flank. However, the referee adjudged that the pass had been marginally forward and play was brought back for a Rockcliff scrum.

Just before the half-hour mark Seaham burst upfield with centres Graham Aldus and Graeme Steel combining well. Ryan Pink, enjoying a storming game from the back of the scrum was up well in support and carried play to within five metres of Rockcliffs line. Unfortunately, with a try begging, Seaham knocked on and the move was ended

On the half-hour, Andy Hogwood made way in the front row for Dave Drinkwater. The wily veteran made an instant impact at the next scrum when he orchestrated a strong drive that shunted the Rockcliff scrum back over their own line to concede a turn-over scrum. However, the hosts returned the compliment for Seahams put-in and were able to clear their lines.

Two minutes before the interval Brad Green made a clean break through Rockcliffs midfield and kicked forward. The ball took a fortunate bounce and somehow landed back in Greens hands. The ball was shipped inside and carried on by Ramshaw before he was tackled short to set up a ruck. Mick Bland broke away and stretched for the line but he too was stopped desperately close to the line before a Rockcliff defender knocked on.

From the resulting scrum, Rockcliffs hooker stole a ball against the head and their fly half was able to launch a massive kick downfield. Glen Hardie read the kick well and took a safe catch right on the halfway line before setting away on a blistering run before being halted inside the hosts 22. Seahams forwards supported well but one of them was spotted handling on the floor to concede a stupid penalty; which was cleared to touch with the last play of the half.

Half Time: Whitley Bay Rockcliff (3) SEAHAM (5)

The second half followed a similar pattern with both sides defending and counter-attacking equally well. Rob Thornton gave his supporters a scare on 41 minutes when he launched a long flat pass to his centres inside his 22. The opposition read it well and looked likely to cross under the posts but knocked on to let young Thornton off the hook.

The hosts had an opportunity to snatch the lead two minutes later when Bell Bell was wrongly adjudged to have interfered with his opposite jumper in a lineout and a penalty was awarded. The fly half struck the ball well from 30 metres but his kick drifted wide.

Ten minutes into the half, with Rockcliff on the attack but being contained reasonably well, Seaham conceded a soft penalty. Rather than retreating and facing up ready for the next play, they were caught napping when the hosts scrum half took a quick tap and their number 8 beat his way over in the corner for a try. An impressive touchline conversion was nailed by their fly half and Seaham were now trailing 10-5.

Shortly before the hour, following several missed tackles by an extremely sloppy Seaham defence, the hosts managed to cross in the corner for another try, which was converted to stretch their advantage to 17-5.

Seaham refused to lie down and go away and, indeed, did everything in their power to battle their way back into the game. It was simply poor ball retention and an element of bad luck that prevented further scores.

They did register a score on 64 minutes when, following strong carries by Ryan Pink, John Dixon and Graham Aldus, they forced a penalty five metres from the line. Brad Green took a tapped penalty and passed to Ryan Pink before taking a return pass and scything through the Rockcliff ranks unopposed for his fourth try of the season. The conversion was missed but the arrears were reduced to 17-10.

With Seaham now in bonus point territory, they went in search of further scores. At this point in the game there was no doubt that they were capable of securing more from the game than a mere losing bonus point. Their confidence levels were up and they fancied their chances of a draw, if not a victory.

With ten minutes remaining, Seaham managed to give another breakdown penalty away softly. Rockcliffs fly half teed up the ball and slotted it through the posts to put his side 20-10 ahead and, cruelly, take the visitors bonus point out of their grasp.

Seaham tried desperately to battle their way back into the game but it was their hosts who came closest to scoring two minutes from time. A good move saw the ball passed amongst their threes and their winger dove for the line. However, a perfectly timed ankle tap by Graeme Steel took his foot into touch to end the move. The final whistle was blown shortly afterwards and all of Seahams efforts were nullified.

Full Time: Whitley Bay Rockcliff (20) SEAHAM (10)

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