Strong second half show not enough as Blyth 3rds lose County Plate final

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Blyth RFC 3rds narrowly lost the Northumberland Challenge Plate final to Rockcliffe 3rds at Plessey Road on Saturday.

Rockcliffe came out of the blocks with more passion and purpose than the home side and Blyth were under constant pressure for most of the first half.

Although Rock did not have everything their way, they scored three well worked tries and capitalised on errors from the home team

At half-time Rockcliffe had a substantial 19 points lead as Blyth failed to score.

Some stern words from James Henning at the interval huddle saw Blyth come out in the second half with more intent and pressure.

Lively scrum-half Ben Robinson outpaced the cover to get Blyth off the mark with a fine converted try.

The home side continued to press and had their best spell of the game, however, Rockcliffe again forced the game to the Blyth line and were able to come away with another try.

This spurred Blyth on and the game started to slowly swing to the home side.

Danny Patterson collected the ball just inside his half and following a series of sidesteps and dummies, he outpaced the covering defence to score a converted try to close the gap.

The heat, and open flowing rugby on show, took its toll on the resources of both sides, and substitutions disrupted the flow, but Blyth again dominated field position, and following a series of driving mauls, first Mel Cole, then Dean Reay went close to scoring, and with the defence stretched, Craig Langwell powered over to close the gap to five points.

From the restart Blyth took the ball upfield with time running out, and with Rock losing a man to the sin bin, Blyth went agonising close to the elusive score, but in a final move they gave away a penalty and Rockcliffe put the ball off the field to close the game.

Rockcliffe deserved the win but Blyth could be pleased with their overall performance despite the slow start to the game.