RUGBY REPORT: West Hartlepool 32 Bradford & Bingley 32

West Hartlepool [Green/Red] . Picture by JOE SPENCE
West Hartlepool [Green/Red] . Picture by JOE SPENCE
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WEST Hartlepool were left frustrated not to take maximum points from this try bonanza.

Thirteen-man West conceded three tries in the final 15 minutes to draw a game which they looked to have in the bag at the hour mark.

The yellow cards came in quick succession for Adam Coates and Chris Atkins and the big Bradford & Bingley pack took advantage to power their way to an unlikely draw, aided by the unerring boot of scrum-half Richard Scull, whose conversion with the last kick of the match tied the scores.

In the end both sides were happy to gain three leagues points each and keep a healthy distance from the bottom three.

But it was the West supporters who looked the more downhearted at the end.

A rueful head coach Iain Dixon said: “We played really well for most of the game but the two yellow cards hit us really hard.

“We were two men down in the pack and that gave Bradford the initiative and they took it.

“It was hard lines on us and especially for the two lads who were sin-binned.

“I don’t lay any blame on them, they were simply playing the game and just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

“Three points is better than one, and we now have to make sure we put the work in during the week as we have another hard game at home on Saturday against Dinnington.

“It is very much a game we want to win.”

The home side had had to make a late change with Jonny Boatman unavailable because of family commitments.

Kyle Jamieson stepped in at short notice and went on to score his first try in league rugby.

It was the Bees who had the best of the opening stages going into a 6-0 lead thanks to penalties from Scull before West had had a feel of the ball.

The Brinkburn boys eventually worked their way into the game with Zac Southern reducing the arrears on 17 minutes, and then bringing the sides level 10 minutes later.

Neither side had looked like scoring a try but the Bees opened the floodgates with the first on the half hour, skipper Brett Mitchell touching down from a catch and drive line-out in the corner. Scull converted from close to the touchline.

The try spurred West into action and they quickly drew level. A series of rolling mauls saw Jay Cornett power his way into the 22 and scrum-half Ryan Painter spotted Stu Waites making a run on the short side. The full-back ran a great line and sidestepped his opposite number Adam Mitchell only to be ‘clothes-lined’ as was going over for the score.

Referee Adam Morrison made Southern’s conversion easier by awarding a penalty try with Mitchell off to the bin.

While he was missing, West went into the lead for the first time with a fine opportunist try from winger Jamieson.

He intercepted Shaun Driver’s pass on the half way breaking a tackle before racing up the left wing to beat the despairing chasers and go in at the corner.

Southern failed narrowly with the conversion, but after the first torrid 10 minutes, West were happy to go in at the break at 18-13 up.

They were soon even further ahead. Luke Mallinson’s penalty kick from his own half set up a line-out in the corner.

Andrew Rollins’ throw was tapped back by a Bees hand and Sam Miller was the first to react collecting the ball on the bounce to stride over from two metres.

Southern added a superb conversion from close to the touchline and the home side had an advantage of 12 points and were suddenly looking for a rare try-scoring bonus point.

It came after 57 minutes when Waites fly hacked his way up the left wing going all the way from his own 22 to the Bees 22.

Adam Mitchell eventually dropped on the ball, but the West forwards were there in numbers and the ball was sped out right to Southern. He drew the cover to send Mallinson in at the corner.

Southern again converted from the touchline and with a 19-point lead, West looked unassailable.

However, those two yellow cards were to change the game.

Coates took the first visit to the sin-bin after 63 minutes for offside followed a minute later by back row Atkins. He was unlucky to be judged to have put in a dangerous tackle on Bees flanker Chris Fisher.

Bradford seized their opportunity and within a minute winger Adam Wellington went in with Scull wide with the conversion.

In the gathering gloom they were back in the West 22 and their superior numbers saw heavily bearded Brad Mitchell go in under the posts for his second try of the afternoon.

The visitors were now just one score behind and they continued the pressure against a nervy home side.

West conceded a number of penalties in their own 22 and with the last play of the game, Scull took a quick tap. The scrum-half was stopped on the line only for prop Ryan Wederell to pick up and score.

Scull’s conversion from wide on the left was not easy but he sent is straight through the middle. There was no time left for a re-start.

West: Stu Waites (capt), Kyle Jamieson, Scott Butcher, Peter Youll, Luke Mallinson, Zac Southern, Ryan Painter, Ross Wood, Andrew Rollins, Adam Coates, Joe Rafferty, Jay Corbett, Jordan Baggs, Chris Atkins, Sam Miller.

Subs (all used): Jack Angus, Liam, Bailey, Andrew Foreman.

Tries: Jamieson, Miller, Mallinson, Pen. Try.

Cons: Southern (4)

Bees: Adam Mitchell, Alex Hamard, Harry Hall, Josh Seal, Adam Wellington, Shaun Driver, Richard Scull, Ryan Wederell, Matt Cochrane, Simon Hill, Harry Jeffrey, Brett Mitchell (capt), Luke Peacock, Chris Fisher, Tom Cokell.

Subs (all used): Andy Smith, Dave Barden, Dan Cookson.

Tries: B Mitchell (2), Wellington, Wederell. Cons: Scull (3). Pens: Scull (2)

Referee: Adam Morrison (Durham)

Sin-bin: A Mitchell, Coates, Atkins.