West Hartlepool put Whitby to the sword in 13-try demolition
A 13-try demolition of struggling Whitby keeps West firmly in contention at the top of Durham and Northumberland One.
It is now very much looking like a four-horse race for the two promotion and play-off spots - with West still to play Durham City twice and with both Northern and Westoe still to visit Brinkburn.
At the other end of the table, Whitby already looked doomed - having lost all of their first nine games.
With the slope and the strong wind behind them, they started strongly against West in the first of the winter 2.15 kick-offs, but once the visitors got into their stride there was no holding them back.
Player coach Stu Waites set the ball rolling with a neat step round the defence to set himself up with an easy conversion.
Skipper Ryan Painter got the second with a smart finish in the corner with Waites’s touchline conversion across the blustery gale the best of the day.
He was involved again before the half hour - drawing the defence to send winger Adam Peacock in at the same corner, and from that restart West went into a 26-0 lead with the try of the day.
Flanker Isaac Robinson took the restart ball and slipped it to prop Danny Cookland. He burst into the opposition half to beat the despairing home defenders in a foot race to the posts.
A sweeping move which started with Peacock on the left wing ended with right winger Callum Johnston racing round under the posts, and he added another in similar vein right on half time to give his side an unassailable 40-0 lead at the break.
With the slope and wind behind them it seemed a matter of just how many more West would score.
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The answer was “45 points” as replacement Andy Turner was sent clear to score his first of the season. The back row had come in at centre after skipper Ryan Painter limped off with a groin strain.
Top scorer Will Hilditch finally got in on the act on the hour, touching down in the comer after being sent clear by Zac Southern.
Isaac Robinson scored the next from close range before Hilditch got his hat-trick thanks to an interception from just inside the home half followed by an easy run in down the left wing.
Peacock added his second of the day before Hilditch wrapped it all up with his fourth and West’s thirteenth of the afternoon.
League action returns in two weeks’ time when West entertain Barnard Castle with one eye on proceedings in Newcastle where unbeaten Northern host second placed Durham City.
Whitby: Oli Roberts, Sam Porter, Stuart Gregson, George Reeves, John Hatton, Gordon Bland, Connor Livermore, Nathan Kaz, Richard Hare, Bruce Reed, Dan Marsay, Ben Wallace, Connor Clements, Callum Smith, Steve Gildroy.
Reps (both used); David Mahaffy, Tom Rose.
West : Zac Southern, Callum Johnston, Will Hilditch, Peter Youll, Adam Peacock, Stu Waites, Ryan Painter (captain), Adam Coates, Adam Brown, Danny Cookland, Jake Linighan, Joe Rafferty, Chris Atkins, Isaac Robinson, Jay Corbett.
Replacements (all used) Jonny Hunter, John Bunter, Andy Turner.