Hartlepool Rovers 29 Stockton21
Sin bin & try!

Hartlepool Rovers 29 Stockton21

By R&O - May 18 2006
Hartlepool Rovers outscored Durham County rivals Stockton five tries to two at the Friarage but ended up winning by only eight points.

With Gareth Foreman seemingly without his kicking boots, missing three conversions and a penalty, and Stockton kicker Jeremy Good putting over three penalties and his colleague Peter Armstrong a conversion, the size of the win was closer than it could have been.

A win was important, however, after successive defeats to West Hartlepool and Beverley which brought a single try from over 160 minutes of rugby. The five tries scored were all of the highest class and showed what the Whites can do. Stockton were to score first and then right at the death to hinder Roversí attempt to undo some of the recent damage to their points difference.

The Red Shirts had perhaps shaded the opening ten minutes and took a 5-0 lead on 12 minutes when Andrew Lilley failed to cling onto opposite number Tom Jeffreys and he was able to make it from the 22 all the way to the line.

Rovers then put a few moves together with Jared Stevens, Lilley, new signing Dan Cavanagh, Ben Cushlow and Michael Walton figuring. It was ex Consett man Cavanagh who set up Roversí first score when he seized upon a loose ball and it was recycled along the backs for Ben Cushlow to receive and sprint down the West View wing. Foremanís conversion was well judged from wide out for a 7-5 lead.

Immediately from the kick off the Friaragemen attacked again with Walton exploiting a gap to race upfield from his own 10 metre line for a real solo try. Foremanís conversion was a formality and Rovers were 14-5 ahead.

The visitorsí stand off, Good, can be deadly accurate with the boot and successful penalties after 38 minutes and in injury time closed the gap to three points, 14-11.

Rovers felt aggrieved after the interval when they were penalised at successive rucks when it seemed it was the tackling player holding on and a third penalty award on the 22 was converted by Good to put the sides level at 14 all.

A penalty on the Stockton 22 after 51 minutes seemed an easy three points but Foreman spotted the opposition napping and a quick tap and pass to Simon Rutherford saw the veteran centre feed Steve Wallis and he rampaged to the line from the 22. Foreman couldnít add the extra points.

Once again, the hosts scored from the kick off when Paul Kirton collected from Wallis and ran over 60 metres into the Stockton 22 where, with options outside and inside, he slipped a pass to Phil Hall who gratefully latched onto the ball to dive over by the posts. The front on conversion by Foreman somehow miss and the Roversí marksman then saw a 38 metre penalty go just wide.

A fifth try was added on 77 minutes when Jared Stevens was taken over the try line by a huge pack drive for an unconverted score.

In second half added time, Stockton reduced the deficit to 29-21 when Keith Etherington took his umpteenth lineout of the match to start a maul to the line where Brett Wildridge touched down, Peter Armstrong converting with the last kick of the match.

This win has halted the mini losing streak and should help to build confidence for Saturdayís match at Sandal, always a tricky venue, but one where Rovers ought to win.

Rovers: P. Hall, Lilley, Cavanagh, Rutherford, B. Cushlow, Walton (Sainty), Foreman, Stevens (sin bin), J. Cushlow, Wise, Power (c), D. Smith, Kirton, Wallis (Grazier), S. Hall. Sub not used: Campbell (sin bin replacement).

Stockton: Jenkins, R. Brown, Armstrong, Taylor, Jeffreys, Good, Poole, S. Brown, Austin (Delmar), Muirhead, Skirving, Etherington, Wildridge (c), W. Brown, Toulson (Todd). Sub not used: Thornton.

Referee: Dave Routledge (Northumberland Society)