Just four points scored - but who won this tense 1972 rugby final in Hartlepool?

The West  team for the 1972 Durham Senior Cup final.
The West team for the 1972 Durham Senior Cup final.

Talk about tense! Rugby union’s Durham Senior Cup final in 1972 was about as close a game as the competition had seen.

West Hartlepool were the holders of the trophy and defending champions after a 14-3 victory over Durham City the previous year.

Action from the match between West Hartlepool and Durham in 1972.

Action from the match between West Hartlepool and Durham in 1972.

And it was the same two sides who came face to face a year later, although this one would be a much tighter battle.

Brierton Lane was the setting for a match which was played in blustery conditions which affected the kicking and in which Durham went closest to an early breakthrough.

Aikenhead received the ball 35 yards out and attempted a drop goal. It hit the upright and bounced back into play before it was cleared.

They had the upper hand in the next move when Dickinson had a penalty, only to put it short and wide.

West could well be pleased to be on level terms at the break

Hartlepool Mail reporter, 1972

And it was Dickinson who stepped up again when Kerley was offside for West. His midfield attempt was once again caught by the wind and fell well short.

But it was West who went on the front foot next through a Nixon 30-yard break. The move only faltered when Parkinson failed to spot Stubbs outside him.

In an end-to-end encounter, Durham went back on the attack and Dickinson put in a high up-and-under that bounced dangerously. Edgar got on to it at speed but was stopped short of the line.

But it was Durham who won the ruck and, when Cummings passed to Aikenhead, his attempt at a drop goal was sliced.

Half time came with the teams going in 0-0 but it was West who came out stronger in the second period.

First, they caught Dickinson in possession in his own 25 and King was caught offside soon after. Up stepped Harvey for West but his kick didn’t account for the wind and it sailed wide.

Back came Durham and they got yet another penalty. Dickinson went much closer this time but the ball still landed wide of the upright.

And as the pattern continued, West had a promising move which reached Scarratt only for his drop goal attempt to miss.

Harvey did the same with a penalty minutes later and the game was still 0-0.

But as West asserted their dominance, a quick heel from a set scrum saw Nixon send out a pass to Scarratt. He missed out Brownlee to feed Stubbs who went over in the corner for s try which was not converted.

The end result saw West win 4-0 in the closest final encounter for 13 years, and the lowest scoring since the 1909 final between Durham City and Hartlepool Rovers.