Beverley 39 Hartlepool Rovers 5
Phil Hall

Beverley 39 Hartlepool Rovers 5

By R&O - May 18 2006
Hartlepool Rovers suffered a predicted defeat at the hands of league leaders Beverley but put in an improved team display after the disappointing defeat to West Hartlepool.

Roared on by a passionate and large following, the White Shirts stuck to their task despite a paucity of possession and some rather dubious tactics by the Yorkshiremen. The game plan of Beverley came as no real surprise, being identical to that exhibited at the Friarage back in November, but the class present within their team is such that the cynical flouting of the laws is not really needed.

As on several occasions this season, Rovers conceded an early try and a good passing move saw Umberto Cuozzo cross after only two minutes and Rovers had still not really touched the ball when, three minutes later, Ben Cushlow had to get back quickly to deny a try for debutant Peter Johnson after a clever kick by Anthony Posa.

On 22 minutes, Rovers were under severe pressure when the Tykes mauled from their own 10 metre line up to the Rovers 22 but Rovers crucially won a lineout to clear their line.

Rovers ought to have taken the lead on 28 minutes when Gareth Foreman hacked form half way to the line where he touched down well clear of an opponent only for Mr.Taylor to give a 5 metre scrum. This could have proved costly for the Friaragemen but the pack scrummaged well and the maul was finished off by Jonny Cushlow.

On 33 minutes, Ian Archibald elected to try for the three points when Beverley had looked to run everything else and he was fortunate that the ball took a kind deflection of the left post and went over the crossbar for an 8-5 lead.

Rovers made a hash of the second half kick off and were made to suffer when Jon Fisher crossed although a couple of forward passes were included in the move. Another try followed on 45 minutes when playmaker Posa was taken over the line from a close range drive.

At 18-5 down, Rovers needed to dig deep and they did so but they were constantly denied the ball with the hosts employing killing tactics, ones that worked very well for them throughout the match.

Posa was pulling all the strings and he released hooker Ian Dixon on 56 minutes for Beverleys fourth try and the first to be converted by Archibald with the scrum half then also adding the conversion to a second try by Posa two minutes later.

When the Tykes attacked they always did so in numbers and they had men to spare after 68 minutes for Shaun Cross to go over for the final try of the match, Archibald again converting for a 39-5 scoreline.

Beverley in completing the double over Rovers remain top of the table and their all round game is such that it is difficult to see them being overhauled. They face a crucial rearranged trip to second placed Penrith this Saturday when Rovers hope to be in friendly action as Brian Robinson builds towards the Friarage encounter with Stockton on 21st January.

For Rovers, it was good to see Phil Hall coming through his first game back in the 1st XV without any problems.

Beverley: Fisher (Dale), Cuozzo, Riby, Henderson, Johnson, Posa (c), Archibald, Clappison, Dixon, Jones (Hatfield), Gibson, Hopra, Hancock (Shaw), Cross, Worrall.

Rovers: P. Hall, B. Cushlow, Kirton, Lilley, Nicholson (Sainty), Foreman, A. Arnell, Stevens (Campbell), J. Cushlow, Wise, Power (c), D. Smith (Grazier), S. Hall, Wallis, White.

Referee: Paul Taylor (West Yorkshire Society)