Powerful West Hartlepool blow Horden & Peterlee away
A strong second half performance in tricky conditions secured West's fifth win of the season, with two interception tries helping them overcome a determined Horden and Peterlee.
The local rivals travelled down the coast road to Brinkburn, with the remnants of storm Callum blowing straight down the pitch towards the clubhouse end.
The conditions made things tricky for both sides, particularly with kicking and lineouts, but it wasn’t the only factor in the game remaining scoreless for much of the first half.
Despite playing into the wind for the opening 40 minutes, West dominated territory and had several good chances inside the 22 but failed to add any points.
Ball retention was not good enough, especially when every turnover led to a wind-assisted clearance kick.
Several kickable penalties were turned down in favour of kicks for the corner, but with lineout ball far from guaranteed and the scrum under some pressure, breaking down the visitors through the set-piece proved fruitless.
It took until the final five minutes of the half for the first score of the game to come and it was Adam Peacock’s long pass which unlocked the defence.
It set Matt Siddle galloping up the left wing and his nicely timed inside ball to Will Hilditch saw him race clear to score under the posts and leave Stu Waites a simple conversion.
Horden came straight back though and with two powerful scrums driving West back.
They seemed to have relieved the pressure only to see another scrum awarded for accidental offside, and this time the visiting pack summoned one more big effort and laid the platform for Andy King to power over.
The momentum at the start of the second half was firmly with the visitors and their carrying seemed to have a new level of intensity, but the game would change dramatically with two crucial interceptions.
Firstly, Chris Atkins stuck out an arm and deflected the ball in the air just outside our 22 before collecting and outpacing the chasing defenders to score in the right corner.
Five minutes later, just as Horden seemed to be recovering and threatening again, Matt Siddle intercepted a pass on half-way and ran in unopposed to score under the posts.
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It was a real kick in the teeth for the visitors and the two scores left them clearly deflated.
Another unforced error, this time from a box kick which rebounded off the forward pack, gifted West the ball in the 22 and Waites set up Joe Rafferty to score, again under the posts.
Siddle got his second with 10 minutes to play, finishing off an overlap after some slick passing along the backline before Horden got a deserved consolation try through Luke Watson.
There was still time for one final score, with Zac Southern slipping through a tired tackle and finishing off under the posts leaving Waites another simple conversion.
West: Southern, Peacock, Hilditch, Youll, Siddle, Waites, R Painter, Cookland, Rollins, Brown, Rafferty, Atkins, Barker, Robinson, Corbett.
Reps (all used): Coates, Hunter, McLurg
Tries: Hilditch, Atkins, Siddle 2, Rafferty, Southern
Cons: Waites 4
Horden: J Thubron, R Brown, Watson, Holloway, Crake, D Heckles, Hartley, Thompson, Greenlaw, Malcolm, Armstrong, C Heckles, Palmer, C Brown, King.
Reps (all used): James, Taylor, White
Tries: King, Watson.