Stockton 0 Hartlepool Rovers 28
Paul Kirton

Stockton 0 Hartlepool Rovers 28

By R&O - May 18 2006
Hartlepool Rovers won this game against Durham rivals Stockton with a fair bit to spare although they were given one or two scares when their hosts had the ball in hand but who, too often, faltered at the final hurdle.

A strong wind at Norton meant the game was never going to be a spectacle and the conditions and the vast open spaces never allowed any form of atmosphere to be built up.

Stockton pressed first but Rovers went into a 7-0 lead after only 8 minutes when great runs by Steve Wallis and Andrew Foreman took them to the Stockton line. Opting for scrums from three penalty awards, Jared Stevens was eventually swept over the try line by his pack, Gareth Foreman judging his conversion perfectly.

Wallis was to have a hand in the next try on 19 minutes when he burst clear from his own 10 metre line and released Andrew Foreman, Simon Rutherford, Jason White and Gareth Foreman before Jon Nichols popped up near the line to cross for an unconverted try.

Stockton came back into the game only for Jeremy Good to fail with a penalty he would normally slot with his eyes closed and number 8 Brett Wildredge was then lucky to escape with only a warning after a bad bit of stamping.

Right on half time, Stockton had possibly their best pressure of the half but stout defence by the Whites denied them although†Brett Wildredge†missed a chance when he chose to pick up rather than drop on the ball when the home scrum had pushed Rovers back from a 5 metre scrum.

With the advantage of a diagonal wind, although by now playing uphill, Rovers pressed home their man to man superiority after 56 minutes when a great run by Carl Robinson nearly saw him repeat his try against West Hartlepool but the ball was made available and although it seemed Darren Smith may make it on his own, he played safe and set up Paul Kirton for a simple touch down. Gareth Foremanís conversion failed but the lead was now a healthy 17-0.

The scrum half made no mistake with penalties after 61 and 75 minutes despite a tricky wind and the lead had now become 23-0.

After absorbing some late, late Stockton pressure, the Friaragemen got a fourth try in stoppage time when a ball went to ground from an attack in the Rovers 22 and Andrew Foreman was not going to be caught as he streaked up the left wing to make the final score 28-0.

The curse that has afflicted Brian Robinson and the squad in a bad performance following an excellent one was broken with this result and hopefully the side can take heart from running in a further four tries that takes them to thirty league tries for the season and a clean sheet to boot.

Stockton: Cowell, Bare (Jenkinson), Thornton, T. Armstrong, Jeffrey, Good, P. Armstrong, G. Skirving (Delmar), Muirhead, S. Brown, Etherington, M. Skirving (Atkinson), Moulder, W. Brown (sin bin), Wildredge.

Rovers: Nicholson, B. Cushlow (A. Arnell), C. Robinson, Rutherford, Lilley, G. Foreman, A. Foreman, Stevens, Nichols, Wise, Power, D. Smith, Wallis (Charlton), Kirton, White. Sub not used: J. Cushlow.

Referee: Eddie Rae (West of Scotland Society)