Percy Park 5 Hartlepool Rovers 22
Two tries Cushlow

Percy Park 5 Hartlepool Rovers 22

By R&O - May 18 2006
Hartlepool Rovers came away from Preston Avenue with the two North Two East points after a win which, despite never hitting top form, was never in doubt.

The victory does not result in a change of position in the table, Driffield’s win at Sheffield preventing this, however, Rovers do remain above bitter rivals West Hartlepool in the race to be the highest ranked local side. Percy Park, meanwhile, remain in deep trouble at the wrong end of league with only Sandal, who cried off their trip to Durham City, below them.


The hosts, on occasions, had the White Shirts under pressure but the Rovers’ defence was, once again, equal to the task and a four tries to one margin reflects the gap between the sides.


After only 3 minutes, Park amazingly declined a very kickable penalty inside the Rovers’ 22 and paid the price when the visitors held out at the lineout and Paul Arnell was then on hand to touch down for a 22.


The Friaragemen took the lead after 15 minutes when Jason White’s lineout catch started a maul to the line where Gareth Foreman received to go over but he couldn’t convert.


Brother Andrew almost got the second try 6 minutes later but was beaten to the ball, however, he then made good ground to release Simon Rutherford to run in from the 22, Gareth Foreman adding a left touchline conversion for Rovers to lead 12-0.


Park’s cause had not been helped with Dan Duhrin being stretchered off and they, again, failed to take late first half penalty chances, instead going for a catch and drive but Rovers’ defence was not breached.


Gareth Foreman tried a 30 metre penalty after 51 minutes but he pulled his kick to the left. Rovers then had to absorb some pressure from Park before they extended their lead with a good try by Jonny Cushlow. The pack put in a tremendous drive inside the Park 22 with the hooker peeling off to power over the line for an unconverted try and a 17-0 lead.


On 76 minutes, Percy Park got a consolation score for their efforts when Thomas Turnbull had an easy run in at the corner. Rovers were to finish the game on a high though with Rutherford setting up a good position with a typical forcing run and some swift passing brought a second try for Cushlow, Gareth Foreman’s conversion going just wide.


Two successive wins should set the squad up nicely for the return league fixture with Durham City next Saturday and, still smarting from a well below par display at Hollow Drift, Rovers will be keen to put the record straight at the Friarage.


Percy Park: Singleton, Clarkson, D. Griffiths, Duhrin (Dobbin), Bell, Turnbull, Davison, Kalbraier, Donald, Neill, Fiddler, C. Griffiths, Heenan (Graham), Ponton (McNicholas), Dixon (c).


Rovers: P. Arnell, B. Cushlow (Nicholson), A. Foreman, Rutherford, Lilley, G. Foreman, A. Arnell, Stevens, J. Cushlow, Wise, Power (c), D. Smith, Wallis (Cook), Kirton, White. Sub not used Campbell.


Referee: Mark Sharpe (Northumberland Society)