Hartlepool made it three wins on the bounce in Durham and Northumberland Division 2 with a solid team performance in beating Rockcliff 36-14 at Mayfield Park.
In near perfect conditions for rugby, Pool lost the toss and played up the bank first half and they took the game to the Red and Golds from the kick-off and eventually took a deserved lead.
Andy Foreman broke from the scrum and took play to the Rockcliff 22-metre line with full-back Dylan Thomas in support. Foreman’s pass to Thomas was inch perfect and clever step by Thomas saw him skip past his opposite man to score in the corner, which went unconverted.
Then there was a further set back for Rockcliff on 11 minutes when Hartlepool flanker Chris Begley charged down an attempted kick and caught the rebound, his break took him ten metres from the try line and he passed inside to Andrew Bostwick who touched down. A Patrick Wilson conversion gave the home team a 12-0 lead.
Four minutes later Hartlepool scored a third try. From just inside the their half, Tom Johnson picked up at the scrum and fed Foreman, who then beat two players before linking up with Begley who scored under the posts. Wilson added the extra two points as Pool lead 19-0.
Rockcliff rallied from this early set back and there were only a couple of unsuccessful penalty exchanges by half-time.
Two minutes into the second half the Rockcliff forwards scored a well worked try with a series of drives resulting in a try under the posts.
The Red and Golds looked to be back in contention at 19-7, but Hartlepool were still proving strong and only good Rockcliff defence kept them from scoring until late in the second half.
Ten minutes before full-time, Hartlepool’s pressure finally tuned to points when winger Dean Ryan scored in the corner for 24-7.
With five minutes remaining Pool scored their fifth try. Following a break down off an attack Begley was first to the ruck and picked up and dived over for his second of the match.
As Hartlepool went for the kill, substitute second row Simon Cormack intercepted a pass and scampered up the field from 70 metres out to score under the posts to make it 29-14.
But Hartlepool had the final say and their forwards and backs combined before Dean Ryan darted towards the line and shipped the ball to Begley who in turn passed to Foreman who scored under the uprights. Wilson converted the kick to give Pool a 36-14 victory and move them up to sixth place.
Next week Rockcliff face West Leeds at home in the RFU Northern Division Cup competition. Kick-off is at 2pm, all supporters are welcome to help Rockcliff to the next round of the competition as a large Leeds following is expected.