West Hartlepool ease to derby win against Rovers

West Hartlepool take on Rovers at Brinkburn
West Hartlepool take on Rovers at Brinkburn

West Hartlepool came out on top in yesterday’s Boxing Day derby with a 41-8 win over Hartlepool Rovers at Brinkburn.

The hosts ran in six tries with braces for Eldon Myers and Ryan Painter as the Brinkburn men built on a first-minute try for Rob Thorn.

West got off to the perfect start when a blindside break by Ryan Painter put Thorn in at the left hand corner flag for a 5-0 lead.

For the visitors, there was a drop goal for former player Chris Hopkinson - now plying his trade at National League Three North Billingham - and a last minute try for Joe Little.

Apart from a strong and cold wind, conditions were perfect for rugby and West used them to good effect to keep things ticking-over and set themselves up for the resumption of the league campaign in the New Year.

“It was an entertaining game with full commitment from both sides,” said West head coach Iain Dixon, “although both sides made too many handling errors.

“Rovers can take great heart from the spirit they showed in defence whilst we blooded four 17-year-olds in their first Boxing Day game and they all did really well.

“The big winner, though, was town rugby because a big crowd was entertained by some good running rugby in a fixture which is the envy of many other towns.”

The Festive clash gave the Whites a chance to try and put some poor results behind them and, although they will be disappointed at the manner of the way in which they conceded some of West’s tries, there were further signs that things might pick up soon.

West’s strength lay in their half back pairing of the Painter brothers, Gavin and Ryan, and the centre partnership of Eldon Myers and Pater Youll who were behind many of their best moves.

West got off to the perfect start when a blindside break by Ryan Painter put Thorn in at the left hand corner flag for a 5-0 lead.

Rovers’ pack then mauled to the line after a kick and chase by Hopkinson who coolly kicked a 25-metre drop goal from the next play.

Myers looked set to run in after 13 minutes after being sent clear only to stumble but he had a second chance moments later and this time he made no mistake, Gavin Painter converting for a 17-3 lead.

Ryan Painter went over four minutes’ later after some slick handling and he touched down again after Luke Mallinson put in a run down the Catcote Road flank on 27 minutes but his path to the line was maybe a little too easy for Rovers’ liking.

The teams had matched-up pretty evenly but West were getting over the gain line that bit better and another strong run by Thorn in added time saw West work their way to the left-hand corner where Myers crossed and West had a 27-3 interval lead.

The Friaragemen’s tackling was not up to scratch and home number eight Sam Miller broke two weak tackles to make it to and over the try line from 12 metres out and with Zac Southern’s conversion the lead was now 34-3.

Substitute scrum half Matt Siddle marshalled his pack into the away 22 to fashion a try for Southern who cut inside the breakdown to cross and then slot the conversion to make it 41-3.

The White Shirts finally managed to keep the ball alive with Ian Coulson involved with two runs and, after Michael Tucker had put in a powerful burst inside the West 22, Joe Little barged his way over to the right of the posts to cut the deficit to 41-8.

Beaten Rovers’ chief Carl Robinson praised his team’s play, saying, “I’m really pleased with how we coped with another much-changed squad.

“I thought Ian Pinchen led the side well and Andrew Dring was in great form. We’ll take stock and then prepare for the trip to Northern.”

West: Southern, Thorn, E Myers, Youll, Mallinson, G Painter, R Painter, Hogan, R Wood, Robinson, Boatman (c), Bunter, C Miller, Maddison, S Miller. Subs used: Edwards, Rafferty, Foulds, Siddle, Brown, Linighan, Willis, Barker, Hunter, Moss, Checksfield

Tries: Myers 13, 40+1; R Painter 17, 27; Thorn 1; S Miller 48; Southern 63; conversions: G Painter 1; Southern 48, 63

Penalties awarded 8, kicked 0, kissed 0; scrums won 7; lineouts won 6

Rovers: Hopkinson, Rochester, Coulson, Humble, B Cushlow, Fawcett, Pelser, I Flounders, Dakers, Pinchen (c), Langley, Ryan, O’Callaghan, L Wood, Dring. Subs used: Tucker, M Barnfield, Buttery,Stephenson, Little, Lane, Lidster. Try: Little 79; drop goal: Hopkinson 11

Penalties awarded 16, kicked 0, missed 0; scrums won 14; lineouts won 13

Referee: Gareth Foreman (Durham)

Sent off: none; sin bin: Maddison 42