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Home > News > Westoe 36 - West Hartlepool 8
Your News Westoe 36 - West Hartlepool 8

WESTOE can derive much satisfaction from a victory that took them to second-top spot in

North One.

Seven players - or almost half a team - who would have been up for selection consideration were unavailable because of injury or other reasons.

It meant Gareth Nesbit’s team took to the field without a recognized hooker or their lofty lineout ace Matthew Muchall, so it was hardly surprising that the pack lacked something of its normal assertiveness.

But there was no lacking in spirit, manifest particularly in the first half when West Hartlepool had far greater possession and were encamped for long periods in Shieldsmen’s territory, yet just could not break through a fiercely determined defence.

Then when the tide turned, Dunes Adventure Island-sponsored Westoe switched on the style to warm the Wood Terrace faithful with some exuberant attacking rugby.

There were further glad tidings after the final whistle with the surprise news that Hull, who had hitherto ruthlessly swept all before them, had been beaten 18-16 on Sheffield Tigers’ lofty, windswept pitch.

It means both those teams have won five of the six matches so far, along with Birkenhead Park, Morley and Westoe who, when points for and against are taken into account, stand second in the table behind the Humbersiders.

They could hardly have had a better start with a well-worked attack just two minutes after the kick-off when the ball was spun out to fly half Sam Rasch who sped over near the right corner flag and then coolly converted from far out.

But then the visitors took charge and though they attacked hard and often, they just could not find a way through and had only a penalty kick struck by fly half Paul Moss after 32 minutes to show for their endeavors.

The vigour of both sides was reflected in the number of first half injuries and it was well into stoppage time that Westoe, much against the run of play, went further ahead with a penalty by Rasch who two minutes later broke clear, set away centre David Haswell whose pass found right winger Willy Moala at full tilt and just too fast to be caught.

With Rasch kicking the second of his four conversions, poor ’Pools must have wondered how they had dominated for so long and yet were 17-3 down at the interval.

The impetus was now with Westoe and after 52 minutes came the best move of the game, lock John Younghusband setting away the backs on the right flank and the ball sweeping across the field to full back John McFarlane who deceived his man to set up Craig Olugbode to score in the left corner and so pretty well seal victory.

Soon after his brother Mark, at outside centre, forced his way across the try line but couldn’t ground the ball. However, from the resulting five-metre scrum flanker Kerry Wood burst through .

Then a long pass from Rasch found replacement flanker James Fitzpatrick who powered his way over before scrum half David Tighe scored a late consolation try for the visitors.

Afterwards Big Nes said: “We were hard hit by absentees, but none of the lads even mentioned it. They knew they could do the business and just got on with it. Their attitude was terrific and it was a great allround performance.”

Westoe’s three other senior teams were also winners to make it a night of celebration at Wood Terrace..

*The Seconds played a hard-running open game which carved through Sunderland’s defences and so secure a 50-0 victory in their Candy League clash at Oakleigh Gardens.

Tries were scored by winger Danny Irving (2), hooker Wayne Foster, flankers Bob Lamb and Ben Deacon, scrum half Peter Nichols, winger Jon Irving and fly half Chris Laycock who also kicked five conversions.

*Though the Thirds ran up 40 points in their Northumberland League clash against visitors Ponteland, they were annoyed with themselves for defensive lapses that conceded 32.

Tries were scored by number 8 Graham Aldus (2), hooker Mark Bentham, winger John Jeffries, centre Chris Mackley and lock John Gregg, while Colin Gillespie and G Tiffin kicked five conversions between them

*A bevy of Colts brought vitality to the Fourths, also on Northumberland League duty, and earned praise from their captain Mark Morris for a “major contribution” to a 50-12 win against hosts Ponteland Seconds.

Between them, young ones Andrew Tiffin, Mick Hackett, Anthony Kail and Graham Elstob scored six tries and kicked 5 conversions. Veterans Ian Etchells and Stewart Farrer added to the try tally.

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