South Shields Westoe romped to their fourth league win in a row against a powerful Hartlepool team.
It was Hartlepool who took the initiative after only three minutes when Westoe were penalised at the ruck and the ensuing penalty was kicked to open the scoring 0-3.
Playing down the slope, Westoe piled on the pressure, dominating in the set-piece and spinning the ball wide to stretch the visitors’ defence.
Westoe equalled the score with an Arnold penalty on 17 minutes.
Soon after, Hartlepool were penalised again at the breakdown and after a quick tap and go, Joe McKenzie powered his way across the line for the opening try of the match.
Westoe continued to attack from every area of the pitch, piling the pressure on Hartlepool, who in turn, showed their skills in a solid and brutal defence that withstood wave after wave of Westoe’s attack.
At 35 minutes in, the best play of the match saw Wetsoe winning a scrum in their own 22, some deft inter-passing and a tremendous sprint to the line by winger Roberts, who was denied the touchdown by some fine cover tackling from Hart.
The following scrum was won and after several phases, quick recycling of the ball saw Gregg Graham cross the line to take the half-time score to 15-3.
With a man in the sin-bin and playing up the slope, Westoe needed to up the tempo and remain solid in defence, as Hartlepool provided the initial pressure.
Westoe’ defence stood firm, with captain Kirton and Dom Connolly leading the pack with a mercurial performance.
Defence soon turned to attack with a concerted drive from the Westoe pack forcing its way into Hartlepool’s 22 and finished off with the powerful McKenzie scoring his second of the day.
The Westoe forwards continued in the same vein, with Connolly driving straight through Hart’s defence who could not hold him, allowing a second drive to score under the posts, taking the score to 29-3 and ensuring a four-try bonus point.
Hartlepool were not out yet and came back from the restart to show their own attacking prowess.
With a penalty in front of the posts, Hart spun the ball to their No. 5 who carved through the Westoe defence to score under the posts.
This raised Hart’s confidence and saw a prolonged attacking period as they tried to make inroads to the score-line.
The Westoe defence held firm and, with their driving pack causing mayhem with Hartlepool’s shape, the game was all but sealed after quick ball saw centre Michael Potts power his way up the field to draw in the defence and release Moffett into the corner, taking the score to 36-8 with less than 10 to go.
Not yet finished, Westoe further upset Hart’s visit with replacement scrum-half and coach, Judson, breaking through the centre of the visitors’ defence to make 60 metres up field and unleash his backs, with Michael Booth crossing the line to take the final score to 41-8.