Ponteland 22 Hartlepool Rovers 21 Durham and Northumberland Division One
THEY may have lost the try count by three to one, but Ponteland pulled off one of their best victories in recent seasons against one of the powerhouses of North East amateur rugby, writes Chris Morgan.
After a sloppy start in the opening exchanges, the home side managed to claim the first score of the match after 15 minutes.
Making his debut at hooker, youngster Cam Bell provided a good throw-in at the line-out and Pont drove over with skipper Danny Harrison putting the ball down. Michael Mullins converted to make it 7-0.
And it was Mullins who was to further extend Ponteland’s lead as he dispatched a penalty given for offside, but they were soon only three points ahead as one of Rovers’ centres broke through a missed tackle and offloaded to his partner who scored under the posts. The try was converted.
Then on the stroke of half-time, the visitors’ open-side flanker ran through several tackles to gain ground up the field. With Ponteland outnumbered at the breakdown, Hartlepool went over again to score their second converted try of the match (10-14).
But there was still time for another Mullins penalty. He expertly kicked the ball through the posts as Rovers were penalised for a high tackle.
Indiscipline was to continue in the second half, but it was the away side who were the main culprits and Pont took advantage of the territory gained from Hartlepool’s transgressions with a Dan Walton drop-goal and Mullins penalty.
With the score at 19-14, Mullins’ final penalty of the match proved to be crucial as Rovers ran in their third try of the game in injury-time which was converted.
Pont stayed strong in the remaining few minutes to register a superb 22-21 victory.