Pool Kick Off Season With Five Point Haul
In an even and entertaining game, a barnstorming final 10 minutes saw Pool finally secure the maximum points.
On the first fixture of the 2018/19 Durham & Northumberland 2 programme, Hartlepool played Sunderland for the second successive week after Pool had managed a narrow victory at Hill View.
In glorious sunny conditions, Pool played up the Mayfield Park bank and after an even 10 minute opening period , Pool created the first chance when Jon Carney stole the Sunderland line out ball 10 metres out and as the ball was worked to number 8 Tom Johnson who exploited a gap in the defence, when he was stopped 1 metre from the try line. The next phase saw the ball dropped in contact and the pressure was cleared.
The next attack saw prop Jon Osborne make 30 metres with a strong determined run when he was eventually hauled down, Nathan Taylor feed Andy Small in support who took on the last defender before flanker Liam Pape touched down in the corner. (5-0). Anthony Lawrence was wide with the difficult conversion.
Almost immediately Sunderland showed their class with an excellent response, the away 10 caused problems with a kick over the top which he dually caught and as he neared the Pool try line he was felled by a high tackle and a penalty try was awarded giving Sunderland a 5-7 lead.
In a purple patch for the away side, the forwards mauled the ball 30 metres to score wide out. With the touch line kick converted after 19 mins, Sunderland increased the lead to 5-14.
Pool came back into the game with an excellent piece of individual brilliance, Nathan Taylor picked a great line and made 10 metres with a strong run and at the next breakdown, fullback Anthony Lawrence picked up at the ruck and darted past 3 defenders to score under the posts. With the kick converted Pool reduced the lead to 2 point. 12-14
Pool again went on the offence and as play approached the half way line, the ball was knocked on in contact and Sunderland number 7 took advantage and as he made yards, the covering tackle was high and the resulted penalty was confidently converted with the score moving onto 12-17.
As match approached the half time interval, Pool showed their attacking prowess with a following move which saw fluid inter-passing between forwards and backs . The excellent period of play culminated in winger Dave Chester outstripping the defence to score in the corner for Pool's third try. 17-17.
In an open and entertaining game both sides had chances to retake the lead but it wasn't until the 56 minute before the next score came and after a series of phases, the Sunderland fly half kicked to the corner and the livewire sub flanker brushed off Liam Pape last gasp tackle to score in the corner. 17-22.
As the game entered the last 20 minutes , Pool secured the all important bonus point for the 4th try, Jon Carney caught the line out ball five metres out and he was driven on by the forwards and after several attempts to cross the white wash, captain Andy Small barged over from close range to level the game 22-22.
With 10 minutes remaining, a line out 10 metres out, Jon Carney superbly caught Andrew Small's pin point throw and quick hands saw number 8 Tom Johnson take the ball on aggressively, he then powered past two opponents to score to the right of the posts. 27-22. Anthony Lawrence conversion nudged the score to 29-22.
In a grandstand finish, Tom Johnson broke from his own 22 metre to the half way line and when he was eventually stopped, the ball moved left to right through 8 pair of hands before second row Shane Ivey showed great pace to beat the full back to score under the post for Pool's 6th try. 34-22 . Anthony Lawrence kick was true and the referee blew for full time to leave the score 36-22.
Next Week – Away to Gosforth RFC, who after relegation to from D&N 1 recorded a narrow victory at Bishop Auckland.