A pleasant autumnal day in Ryton saw a changed Rock outfit come against a team we know and respect, they gave us 2 good games last season winning one, finally score a number of tries late in the 2nd half to secure a deserved bonus point.
Liam Bowman back from wherever it is he goes returned to the front row with Stephen Pentland moving to hooker, and Mal Donald completed the mobile front row, Chris Pearson replacement warming the bench. Craig Hamilton and Stu Thomson provided extra power, with Matt Bradley, Henry Cotton, and back at 8 Rob Hamilton completed the forwards, with Tom Reid looking on admiringly. Captain Dan Leach started at 9 in front of Micheal Hansen, Dale Harrison, Rhys Johnstone, Conner Madden, and Ryan Rapillo retired to fullback. Homer Simpson covering all the positions in the technical area.
Rock started well, pinning our hosts back in their 22 and broke down resistance when young Conner Madden finished of some good hands and breaks crossing the whitewash to score in the corner, unconverted.
Rock, whom until now had only given away 5 penalties in 3 matches now found themselves on the wrong side of the law conceding regularly in the eyes of the official. Ryton took full advantage to keep themselves in the game to slot home 2 well taken kick to lead at the interval 6 to 5, leaving the Rock Ultras concerned that things were not going in our favour. Ryton were pressuring us at scrum time and seemed to be winning the 50 50 balls.
Stern words followed from coach Darren Cunningham and after the interval Rock entered the field with renewed vigour and vim.
The big Ryton pack was moving backwards at scrum time and there bigger forwards started in slow in the warm sun.Taking full advantage Rock moved forward and from a line out in the opposition 22 a catch and drive saw the Rock forwards pile in driving the blues back and Bowman smashed over, 6 10, converted by Hansen 6 12
Try number 3 followed in much the same fashion, this time Stu Thomson crossing after a huge forward push. 6 17.
With the substitutes all contributing Rock continued to play the game in the opposition half, when the home team attacked excellent defence held them at bay meaning that we have only conceded 2 tries so far this season, and again we were able to nul the opposition in tries. Finally we saw the try of the day which involved pressure from the forwards, a great pass for DanO changing the play across the pitch, Rhys unselfishly feeding Stephen Pentland who smashed over in the 80th minute for the bonus point try.
In the added time Rock held out against a Ryton attack, the Ref blowing the whistle to finish the game at 6 22.
A stern test from a strong Ryton outfit, next week we travel to Darlington in the second of 3 consecutive away games.
Training Tuesday and Thursday, be there