West Hartlepool seal win with first-half tries at Wheatley Hills

Hartlepool Rovers take on Stockton at the Friarage on Saturday
Hartlepool Rovers take on Stockton at the Friarage on Saturday

West closed the gap on leaders Pocklington with a first-half demolition of bottom club Wheatley Hills.

The Brinkburn side ran in four early tries to clinch a winning bonus point, but were frustrated by the referee’s whistle in the second half and had to be content with just one penalty score.

However, the result was good enough to narrow the points gap at the top to two with Pocklington failing to earn a bonus point in their 13-6 win at Penrith.

The Cumbrians are also fighting for promotion and they are next up at Brinkburn in what will be North One East’s game of the day.

West Head Coach Iain Dixon said: “We are now six points clear of Penrith who are in third place, so a win for us next week would put us 10 or 11 points clear and that’s a big margin with just six games to go.”

West will probably have to play better than they did in Doncaster to get that result as Dixon admits.

“It was hard work at times but we were never in any danger of losing, “ he said. “The pitch was heavy and they had a massive set of forwards but we scored our first two tries through rolling mauls and were always the more lively.”

Hills did actually take the lead with an Owen Gillvray penalty after just five minutes when West were penalized for not rolling away.

The response from Dixon’s side was to force their way back through the mud to set up a rolling maul which was unstoppable.

Back row Carl Miller was the player to touch down and he did so again eight minutes later in almost identical fashion.

Gavin Painter had missed with his first conversion but he was on the mark the second time.

His right boot came into play for the next try on 27 minutes when an astute crossfield kick was collected by full back Zac Southern and Painter again converted to give the visitor’s a 19-3 lead.

West didn’t have to wait too long for the fourth try and that important bonus point.

Scrum half Ryan Painter took a quick tap penalty on the half way and with support from brother Gavin took play into the home 22 where prop Andrew Rollins was on hand to go over to give his side a comfortable 24-3 lead at half time.

Strangely this was to be the last score until the very end of the game. West frequently visited the home 22 after the break only for a combination of referee’s whistle and solid home defence to keep them out.

The only score coming right at the end of the game when Gavin Painter slotted another penalty.

Wheatley Hills: Dave Laycock, Liam Winfield, Liam Butler, Zak Mears, William Allen, Owen Gillvray, Ian Barker, Reece Norton, Sam Kerry7 (captain), Brad Stephenson, Dan Undy, Oli Moverley, Rory Kynman, Thomas Kerry, Jack Calver.

Reps (all used): Jack Clayton, Thomas Bullement, Craig Barker.

Pens: Gillvray.

West: Zac Southern, Luke Mallinson, Greg Edwards, Paul Moss, Will Hilditch, Gavin Painter, Ryan Painter, Anth Carr, Andrew Rollins, Ross Wood, John Bunter, Joe Rafferty, Carl Miller, Lee Maddison, Dan Boatman (capt).

Reps (all used) Jordan Foulds, Joe Willis, Adam Brown.

Tries : Miller (2), Southern, Rollins.

Cons: G Painter (2)

Pens: G Painter (1)

Yellow: R. Painter.

Referee: David Downham (Yorks)