Rockcliff Vikings v Ryton
By Douglas Hall
Vikings take max points against Ryton
Whitley Bay Rockcliff Vikings secured another bonus point win over Ryton as the quest for the River Alnwick league title continues.
With the 1st team enjoying a much-deserved free weekend you could be forgiven in thinking that numbers at training would suffer. However, showing the true #oneclub mentality those who had defeated our noisy neighbours were out in force on both nights and over 30 lads were down again to help the Vikings and Rangers prepare.
Toma Dawson started in the front row alongside Drew Shardlow and Dougie Hall. It was a familiar paring of Captain Cormack and Ben Butler in the second row and a back row of Greg Dixon, Chris Keen and Cotton eyed Henry. The latter clearly disappointed at missing last week’s game had trained hard all week and was first to put his hand up for selection. In the backs it was the infamous duo of Neash and Mike with centre pairing of Noni and Waddell. On the wings Dan Rule and Tibsey had Jack Bland at full back. A strong bench of Paul Leach and Connor Reed were joined by Tom Crame and Jonny Birkett. There was backs cover in the form of Robert Straker and Connor Ball. Regular readers will notice that since the turn of the year there has been very little variation in the squad and this consistency is crucial to success.
After an intensive warm up supported by some of our 1st XV peers Rockcliff were ready and knew they would be in for a tough game after securing a last-minute win over Ryton back in January. Pre Game there was a minutes silence for Club Legend Dave Bennett who has been a great help to the Vikings in many ways, including working tirelessly to secure us fixtures over the years. A huge loss to the whole club.
From the kick off Rock asserted their dominance and after Ryton conceded a penalty the Vikings looked to attack. The Ryton 7 wasn’t happy with the decision and not content with being marched back 40 meters he also managed to bag a spell in the sin bin. The numerical advantage only helped Rock and with strong carries from Cotton, Keen and Dixon gaps soon appeared. Shardlow charged towards the line but was tackled just short luckily Tibsey was on hand to continue his “record breaking scoring streak”. Toma was soon in on the act after some good phases he bagged two early trys and spent the rest of the game jug dodging. Ben Butler and Henry both looked certain to score however Ryton’s last ditch defending stopped them. On one occasion Cormack was in support to finish…after running over the 6ft 7inch and 18 stone Ryton scrum half. Ryton did get one back but Dan Rule scored to ensure Rock ended the half with a healthy lead.
The Vikings started the second half with intent. Using their dominance at set piece as a platform Rock scored numerous trys. Jonny Birkett dotted down following a big scrum and Straker managed to actually catch a ball to add to the tally. Feeling pressure for his job after last week Coach Dean made some Kev Birkett approved subs and looked to rest some players for next week’s final. Blandy slotted into centre and immediately scored a great try. Ben Butler capped a fantastic performance by crashing over before Neash completed a great team try following yet another great break from Henry. Final score 60-7.
Credit to Ryton who didn’t give up but they couldn’t live with the Vikings structure and superiority. The margin could have been more but for some poor handling however this will be easily ironed out at training. The score line shows how far the Vikings have come in a short space of time. We still rely on other results to secure the title but as Dean loves to say “control the controllables” and we certainly did that.
Man of the match was Ben Butler who rolled back the years and put in a mammoth shift. His hard work during the week is paying off! Mentions also to Toma and Mike who both caused problems all day. DOD should have been David Neasham who sabotaged the St Patrick’s celebrations in the changing rooms however it went to Straker and Tibsey both dropping easy passes and should know better.
Next week sees the Vikings face Percy Park in the County Cup Final. Kick off at 12:30 and is at Rockcliff! Any support will be much appreciated. For players there is no motivation required. See you all Tuesday #oneclub #UTR