Gateshead Thunder’s much-improved recent form saw them falling short of victory, but claiming plenty of pride and a losing bonus point at Rochdale Hornets.
Championship One’s fourth-placed side had already piled the points on Thunder in their previous two meetings this season, but the Gateshead ship is an altogether tighter affair these days.
Beaten only once in their last three games going into the Spotland encounter, the resurgent travellers showed plenty of character to battle back from 16-0 down after a sluggish start.
Gareth Langley had the Hornets in front after less than two minutes of play, and the same man doubled their advantage 10 minutes later when a second try stretched the lead to eight points.
Martin Waring ran in try number three midway through the half, and when Langley completed his hat-trick just before the half-hour it seemed the former tale of Gateshead collapses could be about to make a reappearance.
A commendable comeback, however, had them down by just six at the interval, Chris Heil the first over before skipper Jason Payne followed suit in the final minute of the opening half.
Rochdale started the brighter after the break and did the bulk of their damage early on, Danny Yates breaching the defence to put them 10 up before Langley dotted down his fourth.
Ben Hardcastle hit back for Thunder before converting his own try, and Paul Stamp (pictured below) had the last say on the scoreboard when the Gateshead man dotted down the visitors’ fourth try.
:: Newcastle's Sarah Hunter captained the England Women’s rugby union team in the final of the Nations Cup, losing their title 27-13 to Canada.
The match, held in Colorado, saw Hunter packing down at No 8, Darlington Mowden Park’s Georgina Roberts playing the full 80 minutes on the wing.