Down - but not out.

By Dave Picken - April 15 2018
Down - but not out. Another big defeat on the road - despite a fully committed performance - means we can look forward to lots of derbies next season in Durham and Northumberland One. There are still promotions and relegations to be decided, but we will be facing the likes of Rovers, Middlesbrough, Northern, Percy Park and Westoe in what is shaping up to be another tough league ..

We will have to go into that campaign with better numbers out at training (only eight on many Tuesdays and not many more on Thursdays) and we will need better luck on the injury front.

The lack of preparation showed once again at West Leeds where the home backs looked slick and organised whenever they got the ball, and where we again failed to cross the whitewash when camped on the opposition line and forcing a string of penalties.

West Leeds ran in six tries in their 38-13 win despite the visitors having the better share of possession – especially in the second half.

Other results meant that next week's final game at Huddersfield YMCA is now a mere formality - Brinkburn set to host Durham and Northumberland One rugby for the very first time.

In a season dogged by injury, we suffered another blow when winger Adam Peacock succumbed to a stomach bug with Craig Swales having to be driven down the A1 to become the 43rd player to wear a first team shirt this season.

In a game we had to win we got off to the worst possible start. With just two minutes on the clock home full Steffan James came into the line and cut inside to give former England rugby league winger Mark Calderwood an easy run in.

Fly half Dale Breakwell missed the conversion, and there was brief hope when Gavin Painter slotted a 48 metre penalty.

However, it was the Leeds side who continued to look threatening whenever their backs got the ball, and Calderwood got his second after a smart move from a scrum on the visiting 22.

It was no surprise when they added to their tally after 25 minutes – this time centre Tom Jackson going in under the posts after quick ball from a line-out .

Painter again reduced the arrears with a penalty before Leeds got their bonus try five minutes before the break - courtesy of an inside pass from Calderwood to fly half Breakwell.

We turned round 26-6 down, and it became mission impossible three minutes into the half when winger Dan Booth finished off a flowing move by diving over in the corner.

The visitors refused to give up and began to dominate the set-piece. We got our reward on the hour with Scott Butcher taking advantage of a slick pass from the classy Gavin Painter to go over to bring the score to 33-13.

Sadly, that was to be the end of the scoring for the visitors. We camped out in the home 22 for the closing quarter of the game earning a free kick and five penalties in a row as we pressed for another score.

However, a mixture of excellent tackling from Leeds, and referee Sean White's reluctance to award a penalty try, meant we had nothing to show for the commitment.

Liam Checksfield did touch down after an excellent crossfield kick from Zac Southern, but the West winger was judged to have been in front of the kicker.

Almost inevitably it was the home side who added to the score when a break from their own half up the right wing saw Jackson get his second.


West Leeds: Steffan James, Dan Booth, Sam Neave, (capt), Tom Jackson, Mark Calderwood, Dale Breakwell, Joe Bedford, Duane Smith, Archi Rika-Jones, Steve Anderson, Danny Baxter, Scott Coyne, Lewis Bromley, Jamie Cockin, James Salter

Reps (all used) Dan Bird, Angus Milbourne, Rian Hoey.

Tries: Calderwood (2), Jackson (2), Booth, Breakwell.

Cons: Breakwell (3)

Yellow: Milbourne.


West Hartlepool: Will Hilditch, Liam Checksfield, Peter Youll, Gavin Painter, Matt Tyers, Zac Southern, Matt Siddle, Alex Key, Adam Brown, Andrew Rollins (captain), Jake Linighan, John Bunter, Chris Atkins, Scott Butcher, Andrew Turner.

Reps (all used): Craig Swales, Joe Rafferty, Adam Coates.

Tries: Butcher.

Con. Painter (1)

Pens: Painter (2)


Referee : Sean White, (Yorkshire)


Down - but not out.
Official West Hartlepool RFC (IP Logged)
15/04/2018 12:13
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Re: Down - but not out.
Carlo03 (IP Logged)
15/04/2018 22:02
A very very sad day indeed for the lads and for West Hartlepool rugby club! In a difficult climate for club rugby in and around this level clubs have to be able to offer and inspire something different and appealing to the lads playing unfortunately for the first time in as far as I can remember this hasn't happened. There are many many reasons why and in my opinion and also that of other long serving 'club men's', could have been rectified on several occasions throughout the season to give us a much better chance of avoiding this current situation. Sadly this was never addressed and we are now down and we will most certainly be 'out' unless big changes are made in the club's approach to senior rugby. No doubt this post will be deleted or edited despite being a very diluted version of what I would like to post. Make no mistake, this is the worst day for the rugby side of our club in the 'amateur era'.Carlo

Re: Down - but not out.
Carlo03 (IP Logged)
15/04/2018 22:17
Just to add this was in no way directed at the players (especially the 8 out training) who have given the best they could in the situation they were in, they deserve big credit. Carlo

Re: Down - but not out.
Old Chestnut (IP Logged)
15/04/2018 22:27
Well said Carlo03, a steady demise that hasn’t been addressed by the rugby management......actually who is in overall charge??.. would be interesting to see what they say & more importantly how they will change things going forward.

Re: Down - but not out.
Roni C (IP Logged)
16/04/2018 10:48
Back to basics and rebuild, hopefully with a structure, plan and playing ethos that runs throughout the club from minis up to first team and back down!!!

Re: Down - but not out.
Parental Unit (IP Logged)
16/04/2018 11:13
We have slept walked into this believing all season we are too good to go down. Well those who said it were wrong.

What support have the coaches been getting? Stu Hardy is missing half the time because of his job and Stu Waites has had to do too much on his own when he basically just wants to play.

No coach can do anything with only eight players at training but apparently we have had 43 lads who have played first team games and we have some good young players getting a lot of games like Siddle, Linighan, Peacock and Checksfield and they can only get better.

Roni C is right.

Re: Down - but not out.
minimoneyman (IP Logged)
16/04/2018 11:39
Mathematically Percy Park could still stay up

Re: Down - but not out.
Supercodhead (IP Logged)
16/04/2018 12:27
You were bound to achieve your natural level sooner or later>>> and its cheered a lot of people up in the rest of town >>>

Re: Down - but not out.
16/04/2018 12:49
I'd hoped the idiot had been banned.

To get back to things that matter I've not travelled this season but we have played some good stuff at home. We also have some good young players coming through as has been mentioned.
Sadly both sets of coaches of First Fifteen and Second Fifteen seem unable to get players out to train, and in the case of the Seconds to play on a Saturday as I turn up and there's often no game on as it has been cancelled.
Why is that? We have had 43 players playing first team apparently and that is enough for two teams?

Re: Down - but not out.
Hardwick Man (IP Logged)
16/04/2018 13:15
The time for lamentation and regret is now....but we must not dwell on it too long, there are many factors we as a club need to resolve . A plan in place to resolve as many issues as possible to ensure we have no recurrence next season.
This club does not lack passion and commitment, we can play terrific rugby on our day....sadly it's not worked out. We need to learn from this experience.
It's not a crisis, but a set back which we can resolve

Re: Down - but not out.
Parental Unit (IP Logged)
16/04/2018 13:20
Quite often the only coach who is at training is Stu Waites. The Stags coaches don't take training.

Re: Down - but not out.
Roni C (IP Logged)
16/04/2018 13:55
Like I said earlier....."Back to Basics"

We are a "Rugby" club and Rugby has to take priority, there's no reason why we cant bounce straight back up.

I watched the U14s win the County Cup yesterday as underdogs and also watched the Firsts at Leeds on Saturday....unfortunately one team was beaten before starting the game the other couldn't be beaten (not yesterday anyway).

The U14s had 4 coaches in attendance all patrolling and prowling the touchlines barking out motivation and orders throughout the whole game (and all looking smart in their new tops)

The firsts had 1 coach, trying to be heard and trying to encourage and motivate his players (also looking smart may I add)

The U14s had organised 2 coaches for the trip to Gateshead which led to superb support for the team with the most vocal support from a West crowd heard for a very long time......they definitely made a difference!

The First had their obligatory 1 coach with players, coach, Physio and Committee members on board and a very small smattering of support. For such an important must win game could we not have encouraged more support and taken a half decent crowd to help the team and try to make a difference???

Hmmmmm.........ENOUGH SAID I THINK (Stu you deserve a medal mate, many people would have run a mile...........and obviously have)


Re: Down - but not out.
Carlo03 (IP Logged)
16/04/2018 15:11
Parental unit not sure what the issue is around stags staff not taking training, this has never been the case. We would previously attend to support the first team coaches and to do the team runs with the stags left over which as mentioned has not been the case this season. The reasons for the lack of numbers is a different issue.

Re: Down - but not out.
RoverandOut (IP Logged)
16/04/2018 17:42
Take this the right way but I think you’ll be in for a shock next season in dn1.
This season has been very tough and next season’s line up is even stronger.
Everyone always raises their game and wants to beat Rovers, especially those clubs that have risen up the leagues or where they used to play the Heughers, it has chance to be even worse for you.
Don’t underestimate the division.

Re: Down - but not out.
Rozzy 1 (IP Logged)
16/04/2018 18:22
Whenever a sports team is relegated it's because it isn't good enough, and usually there are a number of reasons for the bad results.
The same applies to West ... some results might not tell the full story, but league tables don't lie and West are where they are because over the season they have not been good enough to be any higher.
Carlo doesn't make clear who he believes could have done what to prevent this happening and I agree the players shouldn't carry all the blame. But when only eight are turning up for training you have to ask why, and while the players rightly get the praise when they do well, they should carry the can when the team plays badly.
You can't blame anybody else for missed tackles and wasted scoring opportunities.
But of course, it's an amateur game at our level and the players are there because they want to be ... let's hope next season is more enjoyable for them and everybody else.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 16/04/2018 18:29 by Rozzy 1.

Re: Down - but not out.
LesterP (IP Logged)
16/04/2018 18:43
Passions are obviously high and so they should be - it shows that people care.

It's all been said above really so I don't see the point in repeating anything.

One thing I would add though is luckily for me I have been able to watch a fair bit of home and aways this season. There are positives, esp the fact that we have had six (if you count Jordan F) youngsters playing regularly who have not looked at all out of place.

I don't actually know why training turnout has been so low - the four Uni Players obviously have some impact on that but de minimus really.

I don't know what the solution is actually but like Roni I come from a background that lives or dies on it's values, structures, lines of command and accountability and so instinct if you like tells me that's the starting point.

There will be no doubt a review at some point which is good. However it's also a time for forensic analysis and calm heads.

As the great Dr Steven Covey once said " Tinkering with things without tackling the major issues of structures and leadership is just like re arranging the deck chairs on The Titanic" 😉

Stand fast everyone - No Surrender !

Re: Down - but not out.
LesterP (IP Logged)
16/04/2018 22:25
We should also echo Roni's words regarding Stu and also Gez, regarding their commitment to the cause. Both always there - Tues, Thurs, Sat grafting away, often against the odds; both Rock Solid; Stood Fast; Never Surrendered !

Re: Down - but not out.
minimoneyman (IP Logged)
17/04/2018 16:05
If three north eastern team are relegated will a side be moved to the Yorkshire league?

Re: Down - but not out.
Dave Picken (IP Logged)
17/04/2018 17:58
Yes. Middlesbrough will have “served their sentence “ as well so could come back to DN1.
Guisborough and Acklam are in Yorkshire.

Re: Down - but not out.
Andy Gomarsall (IP Logged)
17/04/2018 18:22
I think you may find that it may turn out that THREE teams would have to transfer. Squeaky bum time for yourselves! Not more away days in Yorkshire and people unwilling to travel, surely?! 😮😮

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 17/04/2018 18:23 by Andy Gomarsall.

Re: Down - but not out.
Dave Picken (IP Logged)
17/04/2018 22:54
Ok we’ll add Stockton into the mix then.

Re: Down - but not out.
Parental Unit (IP Logged)
18/04/2018 11:11
There would be less speculation from the gathering vultures if Percy Park stopped up. We would need to beat Huddersfield and Park would need to win their last two games. Make life easier for the RFU.

Re: Down - but not out.
Roni C (IP Logged)
18/04/2018 12:19
So....... in a round about way are we saying that a win against Huddersfield could potentially still help??

Just out of curiosity.......does anyone know how many were at training last night?

Re: Down - but not out.
Dave Picken (IP Logged)
18/04/2018 12:38
I think he was making the point that if Percy Park stay up it would reduce the pressure on level transfers to Yorkshire One.
If anyone is interested it is all done on clubs volunteering to be level transferred and then it comes down to mileage .

Page 9

Re: Down - but not out.
Andy Gomarsall (IP Logged)
18/04/2018 18:30
Dave Picken Wrote:
> Ok we’ll add Stockton into the mix then.

Hmmmm, aren’t Acklam still exempt after their “sentence”?

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 18/04/2018 19:12 by Andy Gomarsall.

Re: Down - but not out.
oseander (IP Logged)
21/04/2018 13:57
I posted in (I think) Sepember that if West don't learn the basic rudiments of tackling they will be relegated.
I hate saying I told you so, but I did

Re: Down - but not out.
minimoneyman (IP Logged)
22/04/2018 11:36
Who are in danger if Percy Park beat B&B

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