HARTLEPOOL Rovers made a statement of intent when they blew local rivals Horden away with a first half points blitz that saw them 31-3 ahead at the break.
A try-scoring bonus point touchdown seven minutes after half-time led to the away fans having thoughts of a similar second period.
However, Rovers eased off and, stung by an interval tongue-lashing by coach Glenn Bowman, the Colllierymen fought back and “won” the second forty minutes 19-8.
All of this was achieved despite three 11th-hour changes to the Rovers’ line-up.
With Steven Barnfield having flu, Mark Power suffering a dead-leg and Jonny Cushlow failing a fitness test with a calf strain, positional changes saw Chris Sainty, Ian Pinchen and Tyrone Church step up to full back, tighthead and flanker respectively.
Brian Foreman switched to centre, Andrew Lilley to scrum-half and Michael Tucker to hooker.
Horden, outgunned up front, were heavily reliant on the half-back duo David Heckles and Andrew Raine, who generally lived on scraps until the second half.
The Whites have, too often this season, shipped points in the opening minutes of a game.
However, Saturday’s match saw Rovers reverse this with a second- minute try by Tucker.
FULL report in Monday’s Mail ...