Penrith 37 Hartlepool Rovers 10
Injury worries

Penrith 37 Hartlepool Rovers 10

By R&O - May 18 2006
‘After the Lord Mayor’s Show’, ‘pride comes before a fall’ and ‘flattered to deceive’ all aptly sum up this performance by Rovers at Penrith with an overwhelming 10-37 defeat completely wrecking any chance the club had of going top of the league.

As has so often happened, a completely different team turned up to that from the week before and this heavy loss has pushed Rovers back to sixth in the table and wiped out the pretty healthy points difference that the thrashing of Alnwick had built up.


Despite knowing the twin strengths of Penrith being the big, workmanlike pack and the huge strong running centre, James Stainton, Rovers failed to keep the home pack on the move and time and time again Stainton burst through several tackles to set up a good platform for his side. With the ball being passed around Rovers looked a completely different outfit but they failed to do this often enough.


After nearly falling behind to a first minute penalty, Rovers actually took the lead when Michael Walton and Andrew Foreman ran at the hosts and Ben Cushlow popped up on Foreman’s shoulder to take the try scoring pass. Coenraad Jansen then pulled three points back with a well struck penalty and it took a fine Gareth Foreman tackle over the line to stop the wing man from getting a try. The 5 metre scrum that followed saw Stainton cross and Jansen convert for a 10-5 lead.


The Friaragemen took full advantage of Penrith’s spoiling tactics on 27 minutes to pile over the line, Mark Power getting the touchdown but the failure of Mr Johnson to get on top of the hosts’ niggling led to a punch up between the packs just before half time and which saw Gareth Foreman sent to the sin bin whilst the chief protagonist, and Gareth’s opposite number, Toby Slack stay on the field.


With only fourteen men on the pitch, Rovers fell behind 10-22 with a couple of killer tries by Penrith. Five minutes after the break, Stainton broke well and a good threequarters’ move was finished off by Paul Hetherington, Jansen converting and centre Gavin Young then found the extra space in midfield to his liking as he, too, had an all  too simple run to the try line.


Even back up to full numbers, Rovers continued to spurn their running backs and when they were trapped on their own line on 66 minutes, Slack’s close range try effectively ended any chance of a Rovers fight back. Sadly for the Whites, Jared Stevens was forced off after this score and had to go to hospital for a check up.


The afternoon was summed up for Rovers after 68 minutes when a great drive took the pack over the line but the referee awarded a 5 metre scrum, being unable to spot that Simon Rutherford had got the ball down. From the next play, Penrith raced to the Rovers 22 and the huge band of travelling fans watched with disbelief as home skipper James Lund literally jogged/ambled to the line from around 20 metres to set up the conversion for Jansen and the kicker then added a last minute penalty.


Quite how Rovers can look world beaters one minute and then novices the next is unbelievable but the side seem unable to function when two or three players ‘go missing’ on the field of play and against quality opposition this is a recipe for disaster. Too often, it does seem that the pride in the white shirt and the passion in ones game are quite simply missing.


Pontefract in the PowerGen Intermediate Cup is next up but with Phil Hall, Jason White and Stevens all forced off with injuries, there may be changes needed for that game.


Penrith: D. White, Hetherington, Young, Stainton, Jansen, S. Wilson (Siddle), Slack, Lund (c), Taylor (Simpson), R. Wilson, Dawson, Lowes (Shepherd), Murray, Raine, Bowman.


Rovers: P. Hall (Nicholson), B. Cushlow, A. Foreman, Rutherford, Lilley, Walton, G. Foreman (sin bin), Stevens (J. Cushlow), Nichols, Wise, Power (c), Smith, Wallis, Kirton, White (S. Hall).


Referee: Steven Johnson (North Midlands Society)