Hartlepool Rovers 8 Barnard Castle 31
Hartlepool Rovers look to be returning to some form after this 31-8 home loss to Barnard Castle.
Last Saturday’s clash at the New Friarage saw the Whites entertain the team in second place in Durham Northumberland One and who had beaten them 29-12 in the reverse fixture.
Steady rain fell throughout the game with the pitch in heavy condition after overnight rain.
Barnard Castle showed their attacking intentions would not be affected by the conditions by scoring after a forward drive to the line after only five minutes, Chris Strong the scorer, Harvey Barkes’ conversion giving his team a 7-0 lead.
Daz Fawcett put a 30 metre penalty wide after eight minutes and Castle increased their lead to 12-0 on 16 minutes when Adam Kicks finished off an excellent handling move that had started with Alister Johnson and Miles Brookes on the opposite wing.
The Friaragemen hit straight back and, after going close through Steven Barnfield in the Railway Corner, pulled five points in the Steetley Corner after 25 minutes when captain Callum Whitehead powered over from an attacking lineout.
Castle extended their lead to 19-5 on 36 minutes. Opting for a scrum from a penalty award, the away eight continued their way to the line, with Mr Davison playing advantage, as the home pack wilted, number eight Rob Stanwix scoring and Barkes slotting the conversion.
With the last action of the first half, Fawcett kicked a front-on 10 metre penalty to make the interval score 19-8 to Castle.
Fawcett went for goal again six minutes into the second half but his 32 metre effort rebounded back into play from the left hand post.
Castle then hammered away at the home try line but found the defence standing firm but, with an extra man with Whitehead in the sin bin, the visitors eventually created a chance for Stanwix to get his second try. Barkes had a simple conversion and the lead now stood at 26-8.
The White Shirts then enjoyed a lengthy spell of pressure deep in the away 22 but, despite several plays on the line, they wouldn’t get the ball down. Castle had two men yellow-carded but they held out and cleared downfield.
The final scoreline of 31-8 came about when Castle broke from halfway and Stanwix, who looked set for a hat-trick try played safe and put the supporting Daniel Potts in from the 22.
Rovers are back in action on the New Friarage this Saturday when they host bottom of the league Ponteland and will hope to get back to winning ways.
Rovers: Pelser, S Railton, S Barnfield, Gunn, A Smith, Fawcett, Stephenson (sin bin 62), Ross, Buttery, Lloyd, O’Callaghan, Little, Church, Wood, Whitehead (c)(sin bin 53). Subs used: R Clayton, Coutts, Cotson
Barnard Castle: Brookes, Johnston, Kicks, Welsby, Summers, Upton, Barkes, Hughes (c), Strong, Haynes, Wearmouth, Potts, Bell (sin bin 77), West (sin bin 73), Stanwix. Subs used: Suluga-Fagalilo, Larder, Shaw
Referee: Colin Davison (Durham Society)
Report: Ian Kelly