Hartlepool Rovers 27 Gateshead 9
Hartlepool Rovers have climbed up to sixth place in Durham Northumberland One after this 27-9 win over Gateshead at the New Friarage.
The Whites overcame awful conditions to beat a determined Gateshead side, securing a try-scoring bonus point in the process.
Rovers undoubtedly deserved more tries and could have had the game sewn up by half time but some handling mistakes caused by the wet ball and several ‘tries’ being ruled to have been held up kept the score down.
It’s a result and winning margin that would have gladly been accepted at kick-off and completes a league double over the Tynesiders.
Away kicker Scott Cartner kicked a 30 metre penalty after six minutes but, after several chances, Rovers took the lead on 23 minutes with the first of Callum Whitehead’s three tries.
Rovers opted for a five metre scrum from a penalty award and Whitehead touched down as the pack drove over the away line.
Cartner regained the lead for Gateshead 6-5 four minutes later with his second penalty, this one from 35 metres, and three minutes into first half stoppage time he made it 9-5 with a 19 metre three-pointer.
Being behind at the break was harsh on the Friaragemen who had been in charge over the first period.
The lead reverted back to Rovers, 10-5, after 46 minutes and it was Whitehead again who, after being denied from another five metre scrum, barged his way over the line despite the attention of three defenders.
Rovers were well in control and more pressure by the home eight on 51 minutes saw Ryan Foreman receive and find a gap to cut through to the line. He added the conversion and then a 10 metre penalty three minutes later to increase the lead to 20-9.
A try-scoring bonus wasn’t long in coming and it was the White Shirts’ captain Whitehead who capped a fine personal performance by diving over from close range for his hat-trick after good approach play by sub Billy Lloyd, Foreman’s conversion making it 27-9.
Rovers hit the road on Saturday with a trip to relegation-threatened Ponteland.
Rovers: M Railton, Coutts, Kirton, Gunn, S Railton, Foreman, M Stephenson, S Smith, Cookland, Pinchen, Langley, Little, Dring, Wood, Whitehead (c). Subs used: Lloyd, Maguire, Church
Gateshead: Cartner, Skidmore, Heelbeck (c), Tate, Arthur, Ridley, Hall, O’Connor, Ewart, Moslemi, Ladds, McGowan, Lacey, Cooper, Omar. Subs used: Kelley, Craig; not used: Surrey
Referee: Simon Williams (Durham Society)
Report: Ian Kelly