WEST Hartlepool’s youth policy has been an absolute Godsend over the years.
Countless players have come off the Brierton Lane and Brinkburn conveyor belts ... and still are.
Look at one of the most recent to be included in the North One East squad, Andy Turner, grandson of the late and great Reg.
But how nice to see that the old campaigners are still going strong.
Step forward Jonny Boatman.
His two tries proved the difference to West, who won 20-8 at Sheffield on Saturday.
Jonny is no OAP but at 32, he’s one of the more senior clientele.
There were strong whispers in the summer of Jonny signing for Sunderland, a club from just around the corner from his house.
But the Durham forward stayed with West and is not only enjoying his rugby he is performing as well as ever.
The same can be said of another old county warrior, Andrew Dixon.
Dicko, 38-years-young, has been restricted to a supersub role this Seaton.
There is no shifting the outstanding Andrew Rollins from the number two jersey in the starting XV but Dicko is still doing the business.
Jonny may have stolen the headlines at Abbeydale, but the hooker produced a wonderful cameo.
With West in a strong lead, he helped make sure there was no way back for Sheffield. The Tykes could barely get out of their 22 in the last 20 minutes, when Dicko took FIVE strikes against the head.
The new scrum laws have helped, along with the fact that scrum-halves must now put the ball in straight. But the bottom line is that he still has the old hooking skills. Well done Dicko, keep it going.
KELLY’S Eye may have poked a bit of fun at Peter Youll recently. All for looking like a cross between Robbie Savage and My Little Pony.
But, like all rugby players, it takes more than a hair strain to put Pete out of action.
A broken ankle for example.
He went over on it on Friday evening, tripped over his hair a West insider confided to Kelly’s Eye.
The ankle felt sore and he informed coach Iain Dixon via text but added he was confident of being fit for the trip to Sheffield.
However, at 9.50 am he duly turned up at the bus, only to say that it felt too painful to play.
With good reason. An X-ray later revealed it was broken!
West managed to rope in Martín Todd as a late, late replacement into the squad.
Well done Toddy and get well soon to the blond bombshell.
IT is unbelievable to think that Hartlepool Sixth Form College is 30 years old.
Over the last three decades, some great athletes have emerged from Brinkburn or, in the case of the author of this masterpiece, a fathlete.
The current crop of rugby players are doing very well under the guidance of coaches Chris Hyndman and Gavin Painter.
Tomorrow though they have the acid test – the visit of Ampleforth College in the third round of the NatWest National Schools U18 cup.
The unbeaten H6FC team, which will include West number eight Sam Miller and Billingham duo Luke Wilson and Josh McClashan to name just three,
Hartlepool defeated Ashville College 38-5 at Sheffield in the last round and a home tie is the prize awaiting the winners.
An excellent game of rugby is on the cards so get yourself along. Entrance to the ground is via West rugby club on Catcote Road.
ON the subject of the magic of the cup, the Hartlepool Mail team of the year will be looking to take their brilliant league form into the Senior Vase competition.
Boys Brigade Old Boys have won four in a row in Durham Northumberland Two and head to their league rivals North Shields on Saturday for the first of their pool games.
Given BBOB are averaging 30 points over the last three Saturdays, they should fancy their chances at a club they are two points and six better off than in the league table.
Brigade play their second pool match at home to Leeds club Yarnbury on February 1.
Good luck to BBOB at Preston Village this Saturday.
BBOB’S cup adventure means this weekend’s Division Two derby at Seaton Carew has been delayed until later in the season.
Hartlepool claimed the second town showdown of the season last Saturday when they won 17-16 at Seaton.
Carew did not aid their cause by playing the last half a hour with 14 men but Pool will not be quibbling.
Their third win in the last four weeks, snatched by a late try by talisman Jason Norman, has moved them up to seventh, just five points behind BBOB.
This Saturday, they have an attractive game at Mayfield Park, where third-placed Sunderland are the visitors,
It is the only league game on in town. With North One East and Durham Northumberland One having a break it may be worth a look in.