Match report West Under 15s
20 March, 2012 00:34
Westoe Under 15s 7 – West Hartlepool Under 15s 27
West Hartlepool: Callum Johnston, Craig Vincent, Michael Hainsworth, David Wells, Ben Reed, James Piper, Baden Knibbs, Alex Hester, James Baxter, Shane Jeffery, Danny Fox, Danny Ashton, Isaac Robinson, George Wall, Jack Mason. Replacement: Charles Tilly
West Hartlepool Rhinos continued their good run of form with a hard fought victory away at Westoe, in a tough contest at South Shields, winning 27-7 against a determined and competitive home side.
The game was played on the all-weather surface at Harton Technology College in South Shields in bright sunlight with a stiff breeze blowing across the pitch. Westoe kicked off with the wind in their favour and the powerful West back row of Isaac Robinson, Jack Mason and George Wall announced their presence early on with some strong running and handling as West drove up to the opposition 22 metre line. West launched an attack right from the scrum and Ben Reed slipped the ball to Michael Hainsworth who looked to be through before being well tackled. Westoe launched an attack of their own spinning the ball to the right but were stopped dead by Callum Johnston with a powerful tackle. Moments later the ball was kicked deep into the West half but Johnston kicked through and was unlucky as his kick and chase was cleared by Westoe.
The forward contest was fairly even and the Rhinos had to dig deep as Westoe launched an attack deep into West territory. Showing good composure West ran the ball from deep and as the ball was recycled, Johnston linked up with Mason who fed Danny Ashton. Ashton, enjoying the contest up front and who charged forward with great aggression all game, took on the attack but West had to settle for a Westoe scrum 30m from the try line. At this stage it was a very even game but, after James Baxter won the ball against the head, a tremendous charge from Mason, caused chaos in the home defence. Mason linked up with Robinson who delivered a beautiful text-book pass to Baden Knibbs who dived over for the first score. Straight from kick-off, Shane Jeffery collected and drove right up the field, passing to Craig Vincent. Westoe forced the ball into touch but as the ball was scrambled clear, Johnston picked up the loose ball on half way and out-paced the cover to score in the left hand corner to make it 10-0 to the visitors. To their credit, Westoe gathered themselves and took the game right to the Rhinos’ line before Joe Nettleton scored after a barrage of forward pressure, Guy Branley kicking the conversion to leave it 10-7. This was a fair score in a tight game but West stepped up their game as the half drew to a close and another powerful run from Ashton took the ball close. As the ball was fed out wide it was Johnston once again who scored an almost identical try, leaving the home defence trailing as he scored in the same place to leave West leading 15-7 at half time.
Charles Tilly replaced the hard-working and hard-running Danny Fox in the second row at half time. From the kick off West turned up the heat and pounded the Westoe line, penning the home side into their own half. Knibbs looked dangerous in broken play and his alert sniping from penalties was unlucky not to see him score again. James Piper, filling in on the wing, linked well with Johnston in a good move out wide as West Hartlepool took the upper hand. The Westoe boys were struggling to contain Jeffery and Ashton who were beginning to dominate in the loose. Jeffery seemed to be all over the pitch at times and he was unlucky he was taken out a little late after a charge and deft kick from the combative forward took play deep into enemy territory. Ashton was held up close to the line as was Wall a few moments later, after a storming run by Baxter sucked in the defence. West then won three strikes against the head as Baxter, well supported in the front row all game by Alex Hester and Jeffery, showed why he is the County hooker. The brooding Mason picked up from the back of the scrum and scattered the defence as he blasted over to make it 20-7.
Westoe then enjoyed a fair bit of pressure as West eased up a little. However, another devastating break from Mason was taken on by David Wells who sent Wall racing clear. A great defensive effort saw George felled close to the line but he managed to offload to the mercurial Callum Johnston who touched down under the posts then kicked the conversion to seal a hard-fought victory 27-7.
Great credit to a tough and well organised Westoe side who played some attractive rugby and competed well all day. A few basic handling errors and a tendency to try to force the play were the only slight criticisms of a well-deserved Rhinos victory. However, there were some excellent individual performances and the whole squad can be proud of their efforts that sent the travelling army of mums back down the A19 able to enjoy Mothers’ Day even more.
West travel to Middlesbrough next week and then contest the County Plate Final at Hartlepool Rugby Club on April 1st against Blaydon, kick off at 11:00 a.m.