By Jeff Ball
The unbeaten run continues.
With the sun blasting down on Shildon, it was a day for spectators rather than players as the Rockets 1st XIII took on Durham Tigers.
It is a tale of two seasons for these two sides, the Rockets enjoying an unbeaten run of three games while Durham find themselves rooted to the bottom of the table with no wins.
Build up for the Rockets during the weekend focused on not taking the Tigers for granted, and a full twenty-man squad was named to ensure the Rockets maintained their high intensity strategy.
The Rockets wasted no time in getting the scoreboard started, Connor Lye scoring after only two minutes with Jack Redfern converting.
From there, the Rockets continued to find holes in Durham’s defence throughout the first quarter, Aiden Orritt, Joey Bell, Jack Tait, Tom Brown and Stewart Walker all crossing with Redfern adding another four conversions.
With a 34-0 lead, the pace of the game meant defences took charge and it was Durham that crossed next to open their account. However with two minutes to half time, centre Jack Tait extended the Rockets league back to 34 points.
After the break, it was more of the same with Joey Bell adding a converted effort before Connor Lye added his second. With the score now at 50-0, the Rockets did not settle for that and added four more tries through Joe Morris, Alex Dodds, Orritt for his second and a try from Sam Long on his first appearance of the season.
Not missing a kick all half, Redfern took his total for the day to 22 meaning the final score was 74-4 to the Rockets.
Despite the sizeable margin, Head Coach Dave Townend was not completely happy: “Although the score finished 74-6, I think we were all guilty of underestimating this Tigers side. The lads played really well but we're guilty of complacency at times.
Negatives out of the way, we had the opportunity to welcome some new faces and a few players played out of position - thus increasing the competition for spots to play against Wallsend next week.
The lads were able to display some fine skills and many of the tries came from either strong running or playing to some structure that created space for our players to express themselves.
We are yet to mention the weather, for the lads to play 80 minutes high intensity rugby is an impressive feat as it is, but to do this in the soaring heat and manage to keep the opposition to a single try is all the more impressive.
We know we have a lot of work to do this week, especially around developing and working towards the structures we've had in place since day 1. We will come out Saturday prepared to take on the only other unbeaten side in this competition expecting a tough, physical game; but we will be prepared and ready to match Wallsend in what promises to be a very entertaining game of rugby.”
Cramlington Rockets: Joe Morris, Ross Glasper, Jack Tait, Tom Brown, Stewart Walker, Jack Redfern, Matty Gordon, Karl Campbell, Joey Bell, Alex Dodds, Connor Lye, Aiden Orritt, Connor Lye. Interchanges: Chris Warwick, Ben Stewart, Sam Long, Jamie Dowd, Stephen Bincliffe, Richard Robinson
Scorers: Tries: Connor Lye 2, Aiden Orritt 2, Joey Bell 2, Jack Tait, Tom Brown, Stewart Walker, Joe Morris, Alex Dodds, Sam Long. Conversions: Jack Redfern 11