Rockcliff too strong for young Maroons

Whitby Maroons contest a line-out
Whitby Maroons contest a line-out

Whitby Maroons endured another difficult afternoon in Durham and Northumberland Division Two, losing 55-19 at home to Whitley Bay Rockcliff.

The Maroons were aiming to bounce back from last week’s crushing defeat at Barnard Castle, but were over-powered by their hard-running visitors.

Team manager Matt Jones said: “This was another tough test for our young side who continue to put every effort into each game they face.

“The aggression levels our opponents showed when running with ball in hand made it a long afternoon for our boys.

“We need to step up our own aggression levels and improve in the tackle area to compete at this level”.

The Maroons welcomed back Nick Beaumont at number eight and Tom Rose at fly-half in an otherwise unchanged starting team from last week’s away loss.

The fixture started with both teams battling for territorial advantage and to gain a foothold in the game. It was the visitors who struck first after capitalising on some sloppy hands in the Whitby backs to go over the try line after some good off-loads on the five-minute mark.

The next period of the game was played out in midfield with neither side able to penetrate their opponents’ defensive line to create any clear-cut chances.

The set piece was going well for Whitby which was in turn giving the backs some good ball.

However, in the space of just 10 minutes before half-time, Rockcliff stunned their hosts, running in two converted tries, along with a penalty to give them a 22-0 advantage at the interval.

The second half started how the previous period had ended with Whitley Bay running over the Maroons’ try line to further stretch their lead.

The home side did open up their account for the afternoon when captain Gordon Bland went crashing over under the posts after some sustained pressure.

Connor Clements, George Reeves and Andy Grady were tackling well and halting Rockcliff advances with young Luke Brown following up his good performance last week with another aggressive display of forward running.

Rockcliff were soon back on the attack however, and they ran over another three converted tries to put the game to bed.

Whitby continued to try and play rugby, and full-back Stu Gregson used his pace to score and then convert a fine try before the visitors again replied in the same manner.

With the last play of the game on the way it was Gordon Bland who forced his way over for a second try of the day to add a degree of respectability to the scoreline.

Whitby Co-Operative Man of the Match: Luke Brown.

Tomorrow the 11th -placed Maroons travel to 12th-placed Wallsend for a game that kicks off at 2pm due to the World Cup semi-final.