West Hartlepool demolished Bradford & Bingley, running in nine tries at Brinkburn in what, pre-match, had been dubbed as a potentially tough challenge for the current North One East leaders.
The win keeps the Catcote Road based side’s 100% start to the season going with five wins from a five and a try-scoring bonus point added in each game.
Zac Southern got his second thanks to a lovely one-handed offload from Michael Hogan.
The tone of the game was set in the opening couple of minutes when, from the kick-off, West controlled the ball, worked it slowly up the field before Gav Painter sent Liam Checksfield clear and he timed his pass well to leave Zac Southern a simple run in under the posts.
Dominic Copsey replied with a penalty for the Bees on six minutes but after that it would be one-way traffic for the rest of the half.
Some average defence and tackling from the visitors helped West along the way but with each try confidence grew and some lovely touches and offloads were key features in many of the tries.
Their second try belonged to the Painter family with Ryan’s initial break leading to Gav bursting up the left flank before Ryan took the return pass and finished off the score, diving in to the left corner on his back and reaching for the line well.
Peter Youll was next to cross, with 23 minutes gone, capitalising on a break from Sam Miller before ghosting through a hole in the Bees defensive line. He was followed in three minutes later by Jay Corbett who smashed his way through three tackles for a well-deserved try.
Gav Painter’s kicking from the tee had been perfect on each of the four tries making the lead 28-3 with only 26 minutes gone and a bonus point already secured.
The procession didn’t stop there though – Checksfield took advantage of some speculative passing from the visitors when he took an interception on half-way and galloped away to touch down under the posts.
Zac Southern then got his second thanks to a lovely one handed offload from Michael Hogan after an initial break from Rob Thorn.
The ever fiery Ryan Painter was yellow carded with 35 minutes played and then referee Mark Harrington decided he had seen enough for the first half and blew the whistle despite there being at least five minutes left to play.
Six minutes into the second half, replacement Adam Coates got West’s seventh try when he collected a chip over the top from Gav Painter before Richard Tafa pulled one back for the Bees, converted by Copsey.
Unsurprisingly the intensity of the first half was not quite matched in the second with such a gap on the scoreboard but Lee Maddison finished off another nice move with 13 minutes left after trademark work from Rob Thorn who turned in another vintage performance.
Painter’s conversion deflected over off the right post.
As the clock ticked into the final minute of the game, West capped things off with a final score, Gav Painter kicking cross-field and Checksfield taking a terrific catch on the run to speed away from the defence and add the icing to an already sizeable cake.
Whilst this game didn’t produce the sort of test that was anticipated in the build-up, it was a welcome return to the level of sharpness in attack that will be required to retain West’s position at the top-end of North One East after a couple of scrappy wins.
Games against Percy Park and Wheatley Hills come next before a potentially mouth-watering trip to currently second-placed Penrith at the end of the month.
Iain Dixon said:” As the scoreline suggests this was a much better all round performance than those of recent weeks.
“We got off to a great start and played fast aggressive rugby which had Bradford and Bingley on the back foot, and this week we made the right decisions to capitalise.
“There wasn’t a bad performance from any of our 18 lads, and they know they’ve set themselves a benchmark for the rest of the season.”
West: Southern, Thorn, Checksfield, Youll, Mallinson, G Painter, R Painter, Wood, Rollins, Hogan, Corbett, Bunter, Barker, Boatman, Miller.
Reps: Maddison, Coates, Moss
Tries: Southern 2, R Painter, Youll, Corbett, Checksfield 2, Coates, Maddison. Cons: G Painter 8 YC: R Painter
B&B: Jeffrey, Mitchell, Neha, Akauloa, Wilson, Copsey, Rae, Crotch, Cochrane, Wederell, Jeffrey, Hughes, Mitchell, Riaz, Cummings.
Reps: Tafa, Mountain, White. Try: Tafa Con: Copsey Pen: Copsey
Referee: Mark Harrington [Durham Society]