Attacking down bank in the first half the visitors made their significant weight advantage in the pack count and used the rolling maul to great effect. After half an hour they held a 17-0 lead despite Hartlepool performing admirably and holding firm to several attempts at their line.
The hosts broke free from their shackles before the half was out to reduce the deficit and demonstrate how much of a threat they were with ball in hand. Rory Craig released Dean Ryan on the short side and the pass inside saw Anthony Emmanuel race home from the halfway line to score under the posts. Tyler Hall was on point with the extras. HT 7 - 17
Early in the second half a poor clearance by Hartlepool was punished and Horden increased their lead with a converted try. This was followed up moments later by a penalty that further extended the arrears and gave the visitors what looked like a comfortable lead. 7 - 27
What the home side lacked in size they made up for in pace and tempo. Having utilised this the Maroons found themselves in the opposition 22 for the first time in the half and came away with 5 points when Dean Ryan crossed in the corner. 12 - 27
Horden added another penalty before Andrew Foreman showed a clean pair of heels to dance through and score under the hosts. Tyler Hall again added the conversion. 19 - 30
As the clock approached the final ten minutes the away side scored their fifth try of the match and judging by the celebrations that followed they thought they had put this contest to bed. 19 - 37
With nothing to lose Hartlepool ran the ball at every opportunity and forced their opponents back deep into their half. On 70 minutes Alex Sharp pulled one back for his side when he barged his way over from close range. Hall was again successful from the tee before converting his own try moments later when he outflanked a stretched Horden defence to score himself. 33 - 37
As the clock entered the final minute the Maroons surged forward in numbers from the kick off and had their opponents back peddling once again. After several attempts at the whitewash Dean Ryan was the one to finally crash over, securing his second try of the game but more importantly a memorable win for his side. FT 38 - 37
This was a trilling game played out by two committed teams who threw the kitchen sink at each other for 80 minutes. From Hartlepool's point of view it was a massive team effort and after a difficult couple of weeks this was a welcome victory for the side.
A young and relatively inexperienced pack dug deep and produced a mature performance marshalled expertly by Foreman. While the Hartlepool backs were clinical and took their chances when presented with them.
Bishop Auckland are the visitors to Mayfield Park this Saturday in the CANDY League.