West 19 Stockton 3

By El Pedro - February 10 2019
West 19 Stockton 3 A superb defensive effort set up this hard-fought victory over fourth-placed Stockton at a blustery Brinkburn.

The conditions made things tricky for both sides but the fact our defence was able to limit the visitors to a single penalty was impressive, especially given the long periods Stockton spent in our 22.


We did score three tries and were probably a little disappointed not to add the bonus point try in the closing stages but a win over the side sitting just below us in the table keeps pressure on Durham City and Northern above us with 7 games to go.


With the strong wind behind us in the first half we were immediately deep in Stockton territory but soon found out that kicking to touch from a penalty was far from guaranteed advantage with the wind making any lineout throw difficult.


After spurning a couple of opportunities from lineouts we changed approach and took a scrum from a penalty in the Stockton 22. The change in tactics proved immediately successful as, with  another penalty advantage coming, player-coach Stu Waites slid through a gap in midfield and went over for a try under the posts.


Our second try came 10 minutes later and was created from static ball on half-way. Adam Brown managed to break through and give a nice offload to Adam Coates (pictured) who in turn fed Will Hilditch who was able to race away and add another try to his impressive tally for the season.


Stockton bounced back well and almost had a try in the right corner only for the defence to hold up the ball carrier over the line. The visitors were struggling in the scrum and the West forwards took full advantage, driving the Stockton pack off the ball and clearing the danger.


Having already lost Jake Linighan to injury we were forced into a further reshuffle when Hilditch took a big tackle and had to leave the field. With no backs on the bench, former wing Scott Butcher moved out wide with Chris Atkins coming on in the back row.


Stockton continued to press and plug away at our defensive line which somehow held out for a near 10 minute spell at the end of the half. The visitors were perhaps unlucky not to have a penalty try awarded when a rolling maul was collapsed just short of the line but despite losing Coates to the sin-bin we held on manfully and it felt like a small victory when Stockton fly-half Steve Jones opted for a kick at goal in front of the posts with the last kick of the half.


The scrum dominance we had shown in the first half continued in the second and it as a series of powerful scrums which brought about our third score. The first of those scrums drove the Stockton eight back over their own line for what should have been a simple touch down for Atkins but he spilt the ball as he tried to gather. Thankfully for the replacement number-eight he had the opportunity to make amends just a couple of minutes later from an identical position and this time, trapping the ball between his feet, jumped his way over the line for one of the more unusual tries you are likely to see!


Despite playing into the wind, with half an hour still to go there seemed enough time to seal the fourth-try bonus point but we spent the majority of the remaining time in defence, again putting up a brick wall and refusing to allow Stockton further points. The visitors struggles in the scrum meant we could punish any handling mistakes and frustrate the Teessiders but the defensive effort was terrific .


Our best chance to add to our points tally came through a super break from Butcher who collected a kick on half-way and beat two defenders before pinning his ears back and heading for the corner. He was stopped just short and in our enthusiasm the move the ball to the opposite wing quickly we lost momentum and the ball went loose.


Our next two games are against the bottom two sides in the division with next week’s trip to Ponteland followed by the visit of Whitby to Brinkburn. We go into these games knowing we can ill-afford any slip-ups if we want to keep the promotion challenge a three-horse race.

West: Southern, Heckles, Hilditch, Youll, Johnston, Waites, Painter, Coates, Rollins, Cookland, Bunter, Linighan, Brown, Butcher, Corbett.

Reps: Hogan, Atkins, Barker


Tries: Waites, Hilditch, Atkins

Cons: Waites 2

YC: Coates, Painter


Stockton: Horner, Simpson, Thompson, Tampin, Bartliff, Jones, Green, Conway, Gray, McHugh, Cheetham, Taylor, Doherty, Healey, Powell.

Reps: HIghfield, Muirhead, Crozier


Pen: Jones

YC: Green


Referee: Simon Williams [Durham Society]



West 19 Stockton 3
Official West Hartlepool RFC (IP Logged)
10/02/2019 10:06
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Re: West 19 Stockton 3
LesterP (IP Logged)
11/02/2019 17:30
Another good win against an awkward side to play against - well done everyone.

No BP so the "Get Picken" DVD will roll over to next week.

PS - Stan, we need some more copies when you are next down in The Casbah. When I put it on the website last week it generated a few enquires. Don't forget the Teabags whilst you are there Old Chap.

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