West Hartlepool fight to win against Pocklington

West Hartlepool press forward on their way to victory
West Hartlepool press forward on their way to victory

West Hartlepool got back to winning ways with a hard-fought win over Pocklington.

Only when Aaron Myers went over in the dying minutes for the third try did the Brinkburn faithful relax as the visitors pressed hard in the second half.

They worked very hard to limit our chances, but I felt we were always in control.

Pocklington had gone ahead in the third minute when a sleepy West defence failed to stop winger Nathan Saltmer. He managed to stay in touch scoring in the corner after the visiting pack had forced West back towards their own line.

West’s response was slow, but they drew level after 12 minutes when a spell of pressure in the Pocklington 22 saw the home side opt for a line out from a penalty.

Myers made ground on the blind side from the catch and, as he was held up, Andrew Rollins came powering in to pick up and score with Painter’s conversion narrowly wide.

West continued to press and got their reward with 17 year old Liam Checksfield scoring his first try in senior rugby.

Fly half Gavin Painter started the move when he broke into the home 22. He was stopped but his pass found brother Ryan on the loop and he floated a long ball out to Checksfield.

The centre dummied a pass and stepped inside the cover to go over from 20 metres with Gavin Painter missing a relatively easy conversion.

However, he was on target with a long range penalty on the half hour to give West a deserved 13-5 lead at the break.

There were hopes that the home side would go on to achieve a try bonus point, but the game became a hard slog between the two packs.

First West camped on the home line with Scott Butcher and Adam Coates going close before spilled ball allowed Pocklington’s Jack Holbrough to gather and end the danger..

Then Pocklington mounted an assault on the West line with Gavin Painter eventually going to the sin bin for not releasing.

The visitors battered the West line for a full five minutes - opting foro scrum instead of penalties - but superb defence kept them at bay. The pressure was eventually relieved when No 8 Joe Brown was tackled at the foot of the posts by Liam Bailey and Pocklington infringed as they piled in.

With playmaker Painter back on West forced their way back into the visitors half with Myers eventaully finishing off a sustained spell of pressure.

He stood out from a ruck and when he received he spun his way out of the first tackle, shrugged off a second and went over to set up an easy conversion for Painter.

It wasn’t a pretty win but head coach Iain Dixon was happy with the performance.

“Pocklington had a good pack,” he said “They worked very hard to limit our chances, but I felt we were always in control with a mature performance from Aaron Myers ,and an excellent afternoon’s work by Sam Miller and Liam Bailey alongside him.”

West travel to Percy Park next week without that trio with Myers and Bailey away and Miller on Durham Under 20’s duty.

West: Connor Fewster, Luke Mallinson, Liam Checksfield, Peter Youll, Scott Butcher, Gavin Painter, Ryan Painter, Michael Hogan, Adam Rollins, Adam Coates, Chris Atkins, Dan Boatman (captain), Liam Bailey, Aaron Myers, Sam Miller.

Reps all used: Jack Angus, Joe Willis, John Bunter.

Tries: Rollins, Checksfield, Myers

Con: G Painter. Pen: G. Painter.

Yellow: G.Painter

Pocklington: Matt Procter, Charlie Wilson, Josh Britton, James Flint, Nathan Saltmer, Joe Holbrough, Been Rees (captain), Ed Liversidge, Ben Stephenson, John-Paul Kelly, Karl Durkin, Archie Fothergill, Matt Davies, Jack Holbrough, Joe Brown.

Reps: Chris Morton, Tom Peters, Johnny Wood.

Try: Saltmer.

Referee: I. Davies (Durham Society)