West Hartlepool’s play-off hopes hang by a thread after shock Dinnington defeat

Callum Whitehead powers forward for Rovers in their Durham Northumberland One win over Medicals at the Friarage. Picture: Kevin Brady
Callum Whitehead powers forward for Rovers in their Durham Northumberland One win over Medicals at the Friarage. Picture: Kevin Brady

West’s hopes of reaching the play-off place in North One East are hanging by a thread after a comprehensive defeat at struggling Dinnington.

Rivals Penrith leapfrogged the Brinkburn side. The Cumbrians will now have to lose at Percy Park in the final game in a fortnight’s time, while West will have to take maximum points at Huddersfield if they are to regain second place.

They will have to go into that game without Carl Miller who broke his leg and ankle in two places in the closing stages of the game at a sun-drenched Lodge Lane.

By then his side were losing 38-19 - after struggling to find anything like the form which ran league leaders Pocklington so close last week.

West did have to make half a dozen changes from that game, but won enough ball from set pieces to continue their battle for promotion.

Instead, they rarely got the ball out wide with a home side desperate for the points to avoid relegation happy to play a simple game.

When West lost the ball, or infringed, Dinnington kicked for territory and used some big runners to break the first tackle. As a result they ran in the five tries which keeps the in the league for next season at the expense of Durham City.

They went ahead after five minutes with a penalty kick to the corner. The maul from the line-out proved unstoppable with prop John Marshall emerging with the ball under the posts with Jonny West converting.

West did come back with a try from one of their own props. Anth Carr eventually crashing over after the visitors had forced two pens in the Dinnington 22 both of which were kicked to the corner for line-outs.

Gavin Painter equalised the scores with Jonny West nudging his side in front from a long range penalty.

West were winning good line-out ball and took two scrums against the head in the first half. As a result they looked like they may go on to better things when they went ahead after 17 minutes.

Winger Joe Willis was sent in from ten metres, but he was tackled by two defenders as he went over the line and referee Adam Robson ruled he had been held up.

However, West kept up the pressure from the scrum with Gavin Painter spotting a gap to go in under the posts to give his side a seven-point lead.

It wasn’t to last with two missed tackles on the half way line allowing speedy winger Sam Crane an uninterrupted run.

Jonny West added the conversion before finishing the half with another long-range penalty.

His trusty boot was in action again from close to the half way line shortly after the restart when Adam Coates was sin-binned for a high tackle.

West’s response was to go down the slope and mount a series of attacks on the home line with Carl Miller held up as he tried to force his way through.

Dinnington managed to clear the danger, and the immaculate Jonny West kept the scoreboard ticking in the home side’s favour with a neat drop goal from 25 metres.

From the restart the game was effectively clinched with the Dinnington backs gathering and charging up the left wing with centre Chris Williams finishing off the move.

At 31-14 the game looked up for West.

There was brief hope when Andrew Rollins forced his way into the home 22. The ball was quickly moved left where West had a three man overlap and Zac Southern gratefully accepted the opportunity to touch down.

Painter’s kick was wide, and with 15 minutes left on the clock West needed another one of their second half comebacks to rescue the game.

Sadly, it was not to be as Dinnington again punished poor tackling . Dynamic flanker Michael Leitch broke through the centre of the field and he had full back Duell Trueman in support to go in under the posts to earn his side a bonus point and a 38-19 lead.

Then came Miler’s unfortunate injury half way into the West half. The physios deemed it unwise to move him and play resumed on a neighbouring pitch while the ambulance was called.

The restart was with a five metre scrum, and a distracted West defence was caught napping by scrum half Neil Francis who nipped over to set up yet another easy conversion.

There was time for a late flurry from West with Adam Coates popping up on the left wing and forcing his way over for what would have been a valuable try bonus point.

However, for the third time in the game the defence was there and the decision was “held-up.” The response of Coates and skipper Dan Boatman turned a five metre scrum into a clearing penalty for Dinnington.

Dinnington: Duell Trueman, Connor Brown, Tyle Simpson, Chris Williams, Sam Crane, Jonny West (capt), Neil Francis, John Marshall, Matt Starr, Antony Toss, Andrew Pickering, Garry Woodcock, Tom Doughty, Michael Leitch, Will Marshall.

Reps (all used): Neal Dunn, Oliver Williamson, Joel Humphries.

Tries: Marshall, Crane, Williams, Trueman, Francis. Cons: West (5). Pens: West (3). Drop Goals: West (1)

Yellow: Marshall

West: Zac Southern, Joe Willis, Liam Checksfield, Peter Youll, Will Hilditch, Gavin Painter, Matt Siddle, Anth Carr, Andrew Rollins, Ross Wood, Jay Corbett, Joe Rafferty, John Bunter, Dan Boatman (capt), Carl Miller.

Reps (all used): Adam Coates, Greg Edwards, Adam Brown.

Tries: Carr, Painter, Southern. Cons: Painter (2)

Yellow: Coates.

Referee: Adam Robson (Yorkshire)