One-way traffic as West Hartlepool demolish Whitby
It was one-way traffic at Brinkburn as West ran in 12 tries without reply against bottom-of-the-table Whitby to keep up the pressure on the top two with five games to play.
The visitors have conceded an average of 49 points per game in the league this season and, particularly against sides in the top half, have taken some heavy defeats and found Durham Northumberland One tough going.
On paper, it seemed a mismatch of two teams with differing fortunes and despite the potential banana skin the game played much as the form book suggested.
Whitby’s defence couldn’t deal with the pace and power of the West ball carriers and, despite having some willing carriers of their own, never threatened the try line.
Skipper Ryan Painter got things started after just a couple of minutes with a weaving run and score under the posts before two tries in as many minutes from centre pairing Peter Youll and Davy Heckles.
tu Waites sent Heckles in with a lovely long pass for the first before he turned provider after an interchange of passes with Youll and the inside centre finished things off.
Max Tennant got the bonus point try with just 23 minutes played as he finished well in the left corner after some nice handling along the backline.
Another quick brace of tries following, Heckles and Youll again the scorers, Youll’s try coming after a nice break from Luke Mallinson, off the bench for his first appearance at home since returning to the club.
Early in the second half Danny Cookland was yellow carded after an off-the-ball altercation but it didn’t stop Zac Southern and Painter adding further tries while his side were down to 14.
Whitby were increasingly falling off tackles and Painter completed his hat-trick soon after with another typically committed run.
Heckles wasn’t to be outdone and he got his third score with a simple bust up the middle before Scott Butcher got a deserved try when he pounced on a loose ball in midfield and used his pace to beat the defence to the line.
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Adam Coates almost added a score for the front-row union but he was held up over the line in the dying minutes, but from the resulting scrum the backs worked some space for Southern to score his second and the final try of the game.
An intriguing set of fixtures next week sees West travel to mid-table Barnard Castle, while promotion rivals Northern and Durham City face each other at Hollow Drift.
West: Southern, Tennant, Heckles, Youll, Johnston, Waites, Painter, Coates, Rollins, Cookland, Bunter, Linighan, Atkins, Butcher, Corbett.
Reps: Hogan, Robinson, Mallinson
Tries: Painter 3, Heckles 3, Youll 2, Tennant, Southern 2, Butcher
Cons: Waites 9
Whitby: Roberts, Hatton, Clements, G Bland, Porter, Gregson, D Bland, Reed, Hare, Kaz, Smith, Swalwell, G Reeves, Craig, Braithwaite.
Reps: Stentiford, Allison, J Reeves