Durham City always held the initiative in this North 1 East League derby match, but having established an early 15 – 0 lead and being well in control, they were hauled back by a competitive West Hartlepool side before eventually pulling away to a comfortable victory in a fine all-round performance with four tries in the last 20 minutes.
They started well, going ahead after just 3 minutes with a try by left-winger Ellis Hook, the ball having been moved wide from a scrum on the right, added a penalty through scrum-half Paul Armstrong a couple of minutes later and a second try through centre Craig Dominick from a series of rucks on the West line.
But as they continued to press, an interception by West centre Harry Mayes saw him go 70 metres for a try which stand-off Stuart Waites converted before adding a penalty and suddenly, West were right back in the mix at 15 – 10.
However, a try by Dominick just before the interval, despite the loss of a player to a yellow-card, when they ran following a lineout and Armstrong conversion opened the gap again in City’s favour to 22 – 10, but it was not until the last quarter of the match that they made certain of the outcome, full-back Nathan Bushnell scoring two tries, firstly being driven over after a good run and then finishing off a sweeping attack for the second.
Armstrong converted one of them and City were now rampant, No.8 Peter Dent scoring from a 5 metre driven scrum and finally, Dominick securing his hat-trick when an excellent attack which started in their own 22 with a Bushnell run, followed by a burst up the middle by flanker Howard Johnson and quick ruck ball opened the way for the centre to finish it off.
Armstrong converted the final try to round off a victory in which the margin may have flattered City a little, but the merit of it could not be denied.
CITY : Nathan Bushnell, Tom Elliott, David Elliott, Craig Dominick, Ellis Hook, Charlie Scott, Paul Armstrong (c), Benny Parkinson, Richie Thirkell, Will Elliott, Kevin Showler, Chris Metcalfe, Howard Johnson, Simon Ord, Peter Dent.
Replacements: Kenny Reader, Will Jewitt, Josh Cotton.