Ashington unlucky to lose close game to Rockcliff

Ashington were unlucky to lose a hard fought game against Rockcliff that could have gone either way.

The home side started strongly playing against the wind, but lost ball in contact after a series of driving runs and missed tackles saw the visitors cross for a converted try to give Rockcliff an early 7-0 lead.

Ash were playing with a commitment that had been lacking in previous weeks and a side-stepping Simon Barber run set up an attacking lineout. Good sustained forward pressure saw fly-half Andrew Elliott break through an attempted tackle to score a well taken try.

Ash lost influential full-back Barber to injury after 30 minutes but were pleased to reach half-time only 7-5 down having played into a strong wind.

The second half started with a frustrating series of penalties against Ashington. And excellent defence, especially from Elliot, Whitworth and Metcalfe, could not prevent Rockcliff from scoring twice to give them a 19-5 lead with 15 minutes to go.

In between these two tries Ash blew several good attacking positions through a combination of indiscipline and poor decisions.

During a period of sustained Ash pressure Newman crossed for a try from a lineout drive, converted by Elliott to bring Ash within one score. This set up an exciting final ten minutes.

A great kick and chase from Shaun Nichol turned defence into attack and despite strong runs from Groves and Rosser near the end Ash could not turn the pressure into a final score.

This game showed Ash are capable of competing in this league when they play with commitment and hopefully this will lead to a winning end of season performance next week.