Hartlepool Rovers 32 Durham City 16
Andrew Foreman

Hartlepool Rovers 32 Durham City 16

By R&O - May 18 2006
Hartlepool Rovers continued their recent upturn in form with this comprehensive win over Durham City and, in doing so, exorcised the dismal defeat at Hollow Drift last month.

In bitterly cold conditions at the Friarage, there was no stopping the hosts who ran in five tries and produced the rugby, both in defence and attack, that they are capable of. It does beg the question as to why Rovers’ form can so easily hit peaks and troughs but this display confirmed that, on their day, no side in North Two East can live with the West View Road outfit.


Last week’s two try hero Jonny Cushlow was unavailable and Jimmy Campbell was at hooker whilst Chris Nicholson came in at full back for Paul Arnell.


Rovers forced their way into the Durham 22 after 4 minutes and there seemed no way through for Andrew Foreman but an amazing crossfield run on the 22 saw the centre reach the Steetley corner having handed off several would be tacklers. Brother Gareth’s conversion was badly affected by the wind but Rovers had a 5-0 lead.


A strike against the head by Campbell on 8 minutes from a 5 metre scrum seemed to have saved the day for Rovers but the ball was lost at the subsequent maul and more stern defence was needed before the ball was cleared.


Points bonanza man James Walker slotted a 26 metre penalty after 14 minutes to reduce the deficit but this merely stung Rovers into scoring their second try four minutes later after a great move. Steve Wallis and Paul Kirton put in thrusting runs and recycled ball was cleverly kicked by Gareth Foreman for Chris Nicholson. The bounce was cruel but the full back didn’t panic and he set up Kirton who then handed onto Darren Smith to power home. The conversion attempt curled outside the left post leaving Rovers 10-3 ahead.


On 27 minutes, Walker put a 23 penalty wide of the left upright and after 31 minutes a storming run by Mark Cammis saw the ball popped up on the line for Chris Wearmouth but referee Chris Wray spotted it was a forward pass. Rovers then broke out of their 22 through Simon Rutherford but his floated pass on halfway to Andrew Foreman couldn’t be cleanly taken.


Walker kicked a penalty from 18 metres on 39 minutes but the White Shirts went to get a third try right on half time with a superlative Andrew Foreman effort. Gareth Foreman and Rutherford ran from just in front of their posts giving Andrew the ball on the 22 and in a mazy and determined run he went fully 80 metres thwarting all attempted tackles to score in the same Steetley corner, the conversion fading short for a half time lead of 15-6.


Walker and Gareth Foreman traded penalties on 47 and 49 minutes to maintain a nine point lead. The Friaragemen caught City in their 22 after 55 minutes with Andrew Lilley tackling Walker but the Citizens’ defence thwarted bursts to the line by Jason White and Wallis and Smith unluckily spilled the ball to bring the phase to a close.


Gareth Foreman then narrowly missed with a long range 40 metre penalty on 64 minutes but he put another award into the City 22 shortly afterwards where White took the lineout and Jared Stevens finished off the drive with an 8 metre charge to the line, defenders hanging off the powerful Kiwi prop, Gareth Foreman slotting a tremendous left touchline conversion for a 68th minute 25-9 lead.


Rovers were then caught napping, perhaps sensing the game was won, and this allowed Walker to run in a simple score and get near the posts to make his conversion simpler and he had wiped out the seven points Rovers had just scored.


With the 80 minutes up, Gareth Foreman’s penalty to the clubhouse corner saw White rise to take the ball and, after Rutherford was denied a deserved try by being stopped a metre out, sub Dave Carroll got over the line at the second attempt. Gareth Foreman’s touchline conversion was again good and wrapped up a 32-16 win.


This was a tremendous team effort by the Rovers who stay in touch with the North Two East pacesetters and go into the New Year as the top placed Hartlepool side in the table. Next match up is the Boxing Day derby with fierce rivals West Hartlepool with Rovers 1-0 up in the 2005/06‘Triple Crown’.


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


Durham City: Rubie, Walker, Bieliauskas, Knowles, Mattison, Howe, Stevenson, Davison, Hay, Cammiss (Powell), Wearmouth, Smithson (Showler), Samut, Roberts (c), Johnson. Sub not used: McCreedy.


Referee: Chris Wray (Durham Society)