Hartlepool Rovers FC

Hartlepool Rovers FC

Heughers 18 - Billingham 10

by GRAHAM PUCKRIN

Not the best of games to watch for either set of supporters but a great win against local in-form club Billingham

The game was never allowed to flow to the frustration of both teams who have had good seasons by playing a fast, open game.

Billingham opened the scoring on 7 minutes after a number of penalties for infringements at the breakdown gave them the opportunity to
progress up the pitch then kick a goal, 0 - 3.

Rovers eventually got into the game after a great scrum gave Rovers fast ball to Fleet then Andrew Arnell who were both playing out of position
at wing and centre respectively. A neat chip from Arnell took him over the line but he was unlucky not to collect the ball to touch down.

Further good work followed with a chip by Daz Fawcett then pressure from opito and Muller forced a forward pass. A penalty came from the scrum
that was ran with Ben Little being stopped short.

Another barrage of penalties took the visitors to the 5m line and the powerful number 8 had two opportunities to drive over, the second giving a deserved try that was easily converted taking the score to 0 - 10 after 25 minutes.

A scrappy period followed with Billingham getting the better of Rovers until good work from Little and Gregory at a breakdown gave quick ball to Arnell who set off from his own 22 to score under the posts, easily converted by Daz cutting the lead to 3 points at 7 - 10 just before half time.

The second half saw evergreen Paul Arnell take the field on the wing for Matty Stephenson who had injured his wrist with brother Andrew
moving to scrum half. Nothing much changed regarding the flow of the game, countless penalties, knock-ons and forward passses but the
home side were looking good at the set piece, solid in the scrum and with Hogg taking good ball at the line to set up Muller who was a threat in midfield.

A well hit penalty fron Daz took the score to 10 - 10 after 47 minutes then another 5 minutes later to take the lead 13 - 10 after good work from Gregory.

Rovers were finally starting to take the game to Billingham keeping them on the back foot and 2 against the head from Gregs kept the pressure on. A short delay followed when the referee went down with an injury as Rovers broke away but unfortunately he was fit to carry on (joking!).

Daz missed a penalty after 65 minutes and fresh legs came on with Olly Dakers replacing Gregory and Carrots replacing Matty Wilson with Little moving to number 8.

Rovers realised they were getting the better up front and piled on pressure through Little, Tucker and Carroll but it was Andrew Arnell who
crossed the line from a quick tap penalty to win the game after 70 minutes with DAZ going wide with the kick, 18 - 10.

The last 10 minutes saw Rovers finish strong, unlucky not to cross again after more good mauling but the score stayed at 18 - 10.

Not great viewing, this could have been much more entertaining if a bit more advantage was given to both teams but it was another good win
for the Heughers and good preperation for the Pyman cup game on Wednesday at Seaton.

Team:
Little, Gregory, Tucker, Baxter, Hogg, Opito, Taylor, Wilson, Stephenson, Fawcett, Mullvill, A. Arnell, Fleet, Gallagher, M. Railton, Carroll, Dakers, P. Arnell.

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