Early days it might be but to be top of the league is a very welcome feeling for West Hartlepool.
West registered their second successive maximum-point win came in fine style with a seven-try demolition of South Shields Westoe.
An all-round team performance was reflected by the fact there were seven different names on the scoresheet as the visitors extended their wait for a first point of the season.
The game began in challenging conditions as no sooner had the players emerged from the changing rooms the heavens opened and driving rain and wind made controlling the ball extremely difficult.
Despite a few understandable handling errors, West still looked the more lively side with ball in hand and were eventually rewarded with a Sam Miller try after 17 minutes. The powerful number eight forced his way over in the left corner after a ruck close to the line.
After the rain cleared, West began to look even more threatening with the ball in hand.
Luke Mallinson almost doubled the lead when he was a fingertip away from touching down after a Peter Youll chip through.
West eventually extended the lead with five minutes of the half remaining thanks to some great support play and handling. Adam Coates went close with a burst up the left and then Owen Bennett was stopped a few metres out. The ball was quickly recycled and Gav Painter fed Youll who reached out for a good finish despite being tackled short of the line. Painter’s conversion made it 12-0.
After a couple of good runs, Mallinson was not to be denied and he finished off a lovely backs move a minute from the break. From the back of a solid scrum, Gav Painter looped around to send Stu Waites into space and his perfectly-timed pass meant nobody was catching Mallinson as he steamed in at the right corner for a well-deserved try.
With the second half underway the Westoe resolve began to fade and aside from a penalty attempt five minutes into the half which slid wide and a brief attack in the closing minutes it was one-way traffic.
Half-time replacement Jack Angus finished off a rolling maul on 51 minutes to clinch the bonus point and when number eight Tom King was yellow-carded five minutes later it would only add to Westoe’s misery.
Aaron Myers, also on at half-time in the back-row, showetd a touch of class to break through the midfield and his pass sent the ever-willing Coates under the posts for another seven-pointer.
The prop then continued his excellent afternoon by turning provider for Liam Bailey after a nice break from Gav Painter. The score had quickly raced up to 36-0 and West looked a threat with every attacking play.
Rollins was the next to score, bursting through the tired defence and the visitors were left facing their second consecutive defeat without registering a single point.
They reached the home 22 for what seemed like the first time in the final couple of minutes but their afternoon was summed up perfectly when a penalty kick for the corner missed touch and was hammered clear by Waites.
As with last week’s win at Beverley it is always hard to tell the form and relative prospects of teams at this early stage in the season but, if nothing else, two maximum point wins gives a real confidence boost going into harder games ahead.
West head coach Iain Dixon said: “We have to be pleased that so far we have scored twelve tries and haven’t conceded any.
“We do know that there are much harder games to come but if we continue to work hard we will get our rewards. Last season we looked to our forwards to score our tries but now we have scoring potential right across the pitch and that shows we are going in the right direction.”
West: Waites, Mallinson, Edwards, Youll, Southern, G Painter, R Painter, Wood, Rollins, Coates, Bennett, Atkins, Boatman, Bailey, Miller.
Subs used: Angus, A Myers, Willis
Tries: Miller, Youll, Mallinson, Angus, Coates, Bailey, Rollins. Cons: G Painter 3
Westoe: Hughes, Irving, Smith, Hagan, Tate, Moffett, Potts, Peel, Sant, Lamb, Younghusband, Kirton, Deacon, Evans, King.
Subs used: Yehia, Smith, Reeder
Sin-bin: King Ref: Barrett Aldwinckle (Durham)