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Just what the doctor ordered as West Hartlepool get back to winning ways in style against Medicals

West Hartlepool RFC (red/white/green) v Medicals (dk/red) at Brinkburn, Hartlepool, on Saturday.
West Hartlepool RFC (red/white/green) v Medicals (dk/red) at Brinkburn, Hartlepool, on Saturday.

West got back to winning ways in style as they ran in nine tries against a Medicals side still struggling for a victory in Durham and Northumberland One.

The Brinkburn side’s points difference received a significant boost as they continued their habit of earning a try bonus point in all five game so far.

Just as is importantly after recent defensive lapses was the fact they stopped the visitors from crossing the whitewash.

Director of Rugby Graeme Southern said: “We’ve talked a lot about defence and there was an improvement.

“Overall it was a very good performance with some great team tries, and one or two outstanding individual efforts, so the supporters will be happy.

“However, we will come up against tougher sides than Medicals and we need to keep on working hard and improving.”

With Alex Barker and Gavin Painter restored to the starting line-up, West got off to the best possible start after just three minutes.

It was Barker who crossed after skipper Ryan Painter had taken a quick penalty on the 22. Jake Linighan took the ball on to find No 8 Jay Corbett powering for the line.

His pass as he was stopped just short was over head high but Barker showed good skills to catch and dive over, with Gavin Painter converting.

The early onslaught continued with the next try coming after a flowing move from inside the West 22.

The ball was quickly moved to the left wing where Will Hilditch did well to collect before racing 40 metres up the touchline. Stu Waites was on his inside shoulder taking the pass on the Medicals’ 22 to race in under the posts to give his side a comfortable 14-0 lead after just seven minutes play.

The visitors’ collected their thoughts and forced a penalty which was converted by fly half Joe Battle.

However, any thoughts of a rally were quickly dispensed with as Hilditch was once again in the thick of the action.

This time, the winger came into midfield taking a great line to collect from Waites and racing through the visiting defence to set up another easy conversion.

With 15 minutes gone the bonus point was already looming and it came soon enough.

Once again it was Hilditch who crossed after quick ball from a ruck saw full back Zac Southern come into the line to make space for an easy run in for his left winger.

West’s fifth try was started and finished by the front row. Prop Adam Coates got his side on the front foot with a burst through the middle.

When the was spun out wide outside centre Peter Youll cut inside and made a strong run for the line. He was stopped five metres short but had hooker Andrew Rollins on his shoulder and the popped pass sent the No 2 in. Painter’s conversion attempt came back off the post but his side were enjoying a 31-3 lead.

Medicals refused to lie down and enjoyed their best passages of lay either side of half-time. They prevented West from adding to the score but found themselves unable to mount any serious threats on the home line - despite some strong runs from No 8 Matt Haigh.

The game which had provided five tries in the opening 25 minutes then had to wait until the 62nd minute for the next.

This time it was West’s right winger Callum Johnston who got his first of the season.

Adam Brown and Ryan Painter broke up the blindside and when the ball was recycled Waites found Hilditch with a long floated pass with Youll drawing the last defender to send Johnston in at the corner.

With Gavin Painter off with a knee injury, Waites took over the kicking duties and converted from wide on the right.

He was in action on the opposite touchline after Ryan Painter got his side’s seventh try of the afternoon after combining with Rollins in a break up the left wing.

West once again had their tails up and man-of-the-match Hilditch completed his hat-trick when he collected a poor clearance kick inside the Medicals 22 skipping his way into the corner.

Waites was again just wide, but got himself back on the scoresheet with the final play of the game. He collected the ball 30 metres out and jinked his way through four tacklers as he headed under the posts with his conversions heralding the final whistle.

West: Zac Southern, Will Hilditch, Peter Youll, Gavin Painter, Callum Johnston, Stu Waites, Ryan Painter (capt), Adam Coates, Andrew Rollins, Adam Brown, Jake Linighan, Chris Atkins, Alex Barker, Isaac Robinson, Jay Corbett.

Reps (all used): Danny Cookland, John Bunter, Liam Rutherford

Tries: Hilditch (3), Waites (2) Barker, Rollins, R. Painter, Johnston,

Cons: G.. Painter (4), Waites (1).

Medicals: Oli Bartles-Smith, Harry Sagar, Marcus Brookes, Harry Wilkinson-Roberts, Dan Kitchen, Joe Battle (capt), Rory McDowell, Richard Clegg, Phil Jones, Richard Cleaver, Bilal Mohammed, Chris Urwin, Hamish Graham, Andy Bath, Matt Haigh.

Reps (all used); Mark Dickinson, Paddy Hall, Harry Pells.

Pen: Battle.

Referee: Kevin Allison ( Durham).