Hartlepool Register Fourth Straight League Win
By Stewart Hind
Anthony Lawrence converted all five tries on Saturday to lead his side to victory at Sedgefield.
On a undulating pitch, Pool took the game to the hosts and phase after phase saw the ball slowly move up the pitch and as the ball was moved into the red zone and unfortunately the ball was knocked on.
Eighteen minutes into the contest with Pool on the attack, the ball was knocked following a great defensive tackle, with the referee playing advantage, the home team took the ball forward with purpose and the three phases of forwards play saw the ball moved wide for the winger score in the corner 5-0.
Pool had an immediate response, following a line 5 metres from the home try line, great pressure by Jonathan Carney in the line out saw the ball tapped backwards and flanker Phil Stevenson reacted first to pick up the ball and touch down. Lawrence conversion to the left of the post was accurate and Pool lead 7-5.
Pool were starting to dominate and at a scrum on the half way line, Nathan Taylor swiftly passed the ball to Keagen Thomas who in turn missed out David Chester to give Zac Ivey a yard space on his opposite man. The winger then went on a dazzling run leaving three players in his wake to score under the posts for Pool's second try. Lawrence conversion was true 14-5.
The next play saw Liam Pape make a superb run sucking in three defenders before a quick pass saw Phil Stevenson break free and then Nathan Taylor attacked the blind side but a great cover tackle saw him held up on the try line.
The next phase from scrum on the 5 metre line, Chester took an excellent line but was held up on the try line.
Just before the half time interval Anthony Lawrence joined the back line from full back his lively run and great pass saw Tom Johnson break free but the last pass to Lawrence was adjudged to be forward and the referee blew for half time.
Three minutes into the second period, Chester made another strong break and when he was eventually hauled down, quick hands in the backs saw Liam Pape join the line and power over from 15 metres out. Lawrence had his kicking boots on and his third successful conversion extended the lead to 21-5.
Sedgefield showed their metal with series of forward drives saw the home side move up the pitch and after Pool were penalised for slowing the ball down and a quickly taken penalty saw the a second row crashes over the try line for Sedgefield's second try 21-10.
In an entertaining game, Pool winger Alex Winter exploited a gap in the home defense with a deft kick over the top. Nathan Taylor won the race for the ball and when he was tackled Chester was on hand to pass to Keagen Thomas who scored under the posts for the fourth try. 26-10. Lawrence's regimental conversion moved the score to 28-10.
The home team scored their third try ten minutes before the end to reduce the score to 28-15.
Five minutes before the end, following a determined run, Chester was held up 15 metres from the try line and Pool were awarded a scrum. In a well rehearsed move, the ball was passed out to Tom Johnson who joined the line at pace and powered over for Pool's fifth try. Lawrence conversion was true and Pool led 35-15.
As the game went into overtime, the home team claimed the last score and claim the all important bonus point to make the final result 35-20 .