Rock bosh Bish
By Gavin Donnelly
Awkward Auckland came with a game plan, put into operation but still could not stop the Rock team containing a lot of young lads who learned very quickly that sometimes it’s an ugly hard game.
A much changed side for Rockcliff welcomed to Hillheads mid table Bishop Auckland in a DN 2 fixture on a typically cold winter afternoon.
Coaches Cunningham and Hamilton picked the starting line up of Bowman, Hall, Pentland, Hayton, Thomson, Reid, Cotton, and Hamilton R in the forwards, captain Leach, Hanson, Harrison D, Webster, Johnstone, Fenwick, and Neasham
Hamilton C, Moore, and a welcome return to Mathew Bradley, back and fit for the rest of the season, started from the bench.
Rock started well with a penalty from Hanson after 5 minutes, his father turned out for the Rangers, so Mum was left to support alone ! An experienced Bish team came back at Rock, their powerful pack ably marshalled by a talented young 8, Bish 10 pulling strings and setting off strong back moves. The Red and Gold defence severely tested, but at this stage holding firm. Bish scored 2 penalties to take a lead but back came Rock with a well worked forward try to see Thomson cross the whitewash. Bish were infringing at breakdown, the referee, an exchange from Spain, lost his patience and sent a forward to the naughty step. Rock were dominating the game at this stage, and should have been awarded 2 penalty try’s, the ref further yellow carding 2 more Bish players, the game scrappy, ugly, tempers fraying as Rock got sucked into the Bishop game plan.
Half time saw Rock leading 8 5
The 2nd have descended into a turgid affair, an ugly bad tempered game, lots of backchat to the Andalusian ref, a red for a Bishop back, a try for Alex Hayton, one for them, and more penalties converted by Johnstone to see the game out.
Rock will face more games like this in future, it was a steep learning curve for our younger players and needed the experience of Hamilton C to see the game out.
Not one for the purists amongst us, but another win, and pleasingly the opposition got absolutely nowt , which is more than they deserved.
Cup match next week with Sunderland, then a series of tough league games that will define the season.
Be prepared lads !
Training as per, let’s keep those numbers up.