HARTLEPOOL Rovers could not have made a better start to the season – now they must make sure they do not take a backward step.
Rovers play host to Gosforth at the Friarage tomorrow looking to build on their Durham Intermediate Cup success over BBOB and the league victory over Guisborough (kick-off 3pm).
A win over Brigade was not unexpected but while a result against one of Durham Northumberland One’s title favourites was not a total shock, it was certainly a feather in their caps.
So too was the manner of their triumph, fighting back from 19-8 down to win 26-19, collecting a bonus point in the process.
Rovers will be expected to see off the Geordies but they cannot take victory for granted – Gosforth will arrive at West View Road buoyed by a 22-8 win over Sunderland last weekend.
Coaches Graham Puckrin and Carl Robinson want their players to show the same character while displaying patience to fashion and then take their chances.
“You have to be pleased with that result,” Robinson told SportMail.
“Apart from our usual daft 10-minute spell we always seem to have, we were the better team.
“We had to come back after slipping behind and Guisborough’s penalty try didn’t help.
“But we showed great character just before half-time and started the second half the right way.
“Guisborough were a tough team, as we knew they would be, and they must have fancied their chances.
“We worked hard, though, to win the ball and keep it and then to create openings in their defence.”
Rovers, as they showed on the previous Saturday when making progress in the cup, have players suited to the fast, fluid style they wish to adopt.
Player of the Year Lee Maddison led the way with a brace of scores and the back row proved a vital unit.
“Lee was again superb for us and deserved his two tries,” added Robinson.
“The whole back row played well as did Danny Charters when he came on.”
There was praise too for James Evens, who could well prove a key figure tomorrow in the backs.
Chairman of rugby, Michael Ainslie, said: “I thought James helped to shift the game our way when he came on.
“He kicked over their heads into space to force them back and give our chasers something to go at and their defence struggled to cope with that.”
Team: Austwicke, Grand, Gunn, Coulson (c), Smith, Fawcett, S Barnfield, Tucker, J Cushlow, Wise, Baxter, Pinchen, Wilson, Maddison,Charters. Subs: A Flounders, wood, Stephenson.