West Hartlepool finally end ‘Horden Hoodoo’ to record important win over old rivals.
West finally beat their “Horden Hoodoo” to record an important bonus-point victory over their old rivals.
It was the first time this century that the Brinkburn side had won the away league fixture and it keeps them just one point behind joint leaders Durham City and Northern.
It was also the first time the pair had met at Horden and Peterlee’s new Eden Park ground with the big pitch expected to suit the visitors.
They forced several scrum penalties in the first few minutes only for a high tackle on West No 8 Scott Butcher relived the pressure.
However, it wasn’t until the quarter hour that West were able to get into the home 22. They did so with some effect as winger Callum Johnston and skipper Ryan Painter combined to send Peter Youll through a gap ten metres out to set up the conversion for Zac Southern.
The West centre looked to have got over again but referee Gareth Foreman ruled he had been held up over the line.
The pressure on the home line continued, and when West took a quick penalty Callum Johnston showed tremendous balance to keep two tacklers at bay while avoiding stepping into touch. He then tuimed his inside pass to send Luke Mallinson over.
The lead was stretched to 19-0 when Jake Linighan stole Horden and Peterlee’s line-out ball on their 22 with Chris Atkins touching down as his pack drove over.
That only served to galvanise the home pack who got their team back into the game in the last five minutes of the first half.
Lively scrum half Neil Hartley got their first try of the afternoon - gathering from the base of the scrum and showing a clean pair of heels as he raced round the blindside.
Cameron Lithgo was wide with his conversion. He was on target with the last kick of the half after centre Ben Crake took advantage of missed tackles in the midfield to bring his side right back into the game.
Horden and Peterlee’s revival continued after the break, but they had to wait until the 53rd minute to draw level.
It came when a West line-out throw in their own 22 was caught by the wind to fall neatly to flanker Carl Brown. The ball was quickly moved wide where the wiry Lithgo evaded the first tackler to send in Darren Edwards as he was stopped just five metres out.
It looked like West may once again be on the end of a shock defeat at the hands of the hard working Collierymen, but skipper Ryan Painter had other ideas.
Luke Mallinson made ground up the left with a penalty kick, and when Linighan once again took good line-out ball, the West forwards forced their counterparts onto the back foot with Painter collecting and forcing his way through a gap.
That score gave West their vital bonus point and Southern’s conversion once again put them one score ahead but definitely still out of any comfort zone.
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That was achieved in slightly unusual circumstances on the hour. Left winger Adam Larkin collecting a clearance kick in his own half and chipping over the onrushing defence.
Full back Jack McCallum looked to have the ball well covered as he patrolled his own line only to slip. The watchful Larkin to accepting the easiest of touchdowns with the conversion stretching the score to 33-19.
Horden again came back only to spurn their best chance when their half backs once again hit the line with speed in the West 22. Unfortunately for the home supporters, referee Foreman ruled that a West defender had been taken out illegally as a gap opened under the posts.
Instead it was the Hartlepool side which was to have the last say, with fly half Zac Southern selling a dummy to create space for himself to go over next to the posts.
The exertion cost him a strained hamstring with Mallinson taking the conversion to add the final points of a hard-fought contest.
Horden: Jack McCallum, Dean Armstrong, Darren Edwards, Ben Crake, Reece Brown, Cameron Lithgo, Neil Hartley, Michael Thompson, Niall Greenlaw, Richie Thirkell, Paul Armstrong, Dan Palmer, Carl Brown, Sean McCallum, Paul James.
Replacements (all used) Craig Heckles, David Mason, Lee Cudlip.
Tries: Hartley, Crake, Edwards.
Cons: Lithgo (2)
West: Luke Mallinson, Callum Johnston, Will Hilditch, Peter Youll, Adam Larkin Zac Southern, Ryan Painter (capt), Adam Coates, Andrew Rollins, Adam Brown, Chris Atkins, Jake Linighan, Isaac Robinson, Alex Barker, Scott Butcher.
Replacements (all used) :Adam Peacock , Michael Hogan, Danny Cookland.
Tries: Youll, Mallinson, Atkins, Painter, Larkin, Southern.
Cons Southern (4), Mallinson (1)
Referee: Gareth Foreman (Durham).