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Home > News > Seaham 10 - Hartlepool Athletic 10
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Your News Seaham 10 - Hartlepool Athletic 10
14
MAR

Hartlepool Athletic travelled to Seaham Leisure expecting nothing short of a tough encounter, and certainly got good value for their money. The hosts were able to field a much stronger side then the severely depleted one that had went down 38-8 in the previous encounter between the sides back in mid November.

Athletic's heavy pack provided a solid platform for them in the opening stages and a clever drop goal from their scrum half enabled them to take a 3-0 lead following a scrum on the edge of the Seaham 22. The visitors stretched their lead with a converted try after 21 minutes when their big second row took a pass on the charge and burrowed over for a converted try.

Being ten points adrift seemed to shake Seaham out of their daze and they appeared to up their workload and apply some significant pressure. Straight from the restart, pack leader Stu Barrass led his forwards well and was ably backed by the evergreen flanker Steve Meir, who appeared to cover every blade of grass on the pitch. Scrum half Brad Green's sniping around the set pieces also ensured that the opposition had their hands full. Unfortunately for Seaham, promising threequarters Paul Atkinson and Jonny Gale were forced off the field with leg injuries within a short space of time, but the inclusion of Jack McCallum and Graeme Steel ensured that their shape was retained.

Seaham's pressure paid off in the 36th minute following a sustained spell of pressure deep in the visitor's half. The home pack battered away at the visitors' line but stern defence kept them at bay. Eventually, they were forced into entering a ruck from the side and conceded a penalty. Fly half Dave Davison took a quick tap penalty and the ball was fed to big second row Andy Hogwood, who bulldozed his way over the line for a try. Davison's conversion reduced the arrears to 10-7 with the interval drawing close.

Half Time: SEAHAM (7) Hartlepool Athletic (10)

Seaham's forwards, boosted by the timely inclusion of Drinkwater, Cahill and Scott in the front row, dominated the vast majority of the second half and provided a rock steady platform for young Brad Green to distribute quality ball to his threequarters. In fact, the terrier-like scrum half proved such a thorn in the opposition's side that the Athletic number 8 tried to bully him out of the game. He thought twice about it when tough young flanker Grant Dixon raced to his defence and let him know in no uncertain terms that they would not be standing for any nonsence.

In spite of their dominance, the second half proved to be a very frustrating affair for Seaham as a series of poor decisions, forward passes and handling errors stifled their momentum. The atrocious pitch conditions made safe handling extremely difficult and credit had to be given to all who handled well. The hosts found themselves camped deep in the Athletic half and their pressure appeared to have paid off when Grant Dixon found himself on the end of a scoring pass and dove over in the bottom left corner. However, referee Ray Coulthard adjudged that he had received a forward pass so the score was ruled out and a scrum awarded to Athletic.

Seaham's continued pressure saw them hammer away at their visitors line and cause some desperate acts of defence. Athletic defended well but had to consider themselves lucky not to concede a yellow card for continuous transgressions at the breakdown. Time and again, the hosts were awarded penalties and squandered obvious scoring opportunities by running the ball when a kick at goal seemed more straightforward and rewarding.

They eventually opted to kick for goal in the 74th minute when the visitors strayed offside in front of their posts. Fly half Dave Davison maintained his composure and coolly slotted the ball through the posts to tie the scores at 10-10. Seaham resumed the offensive from the restart and kicked deep into Athletic territory. Ben Bell got up well at the resulting lineout and stole a throw at the front and his fellow forwards recycled the ball well. Unfortunately, when the ball was distributed amongst the backs it was eventually knocked forward and their momentum was killed.

Seaham's partisan crowd sensed victory going into the dying seconds and bellowed their support. Sadly, fate was not to be on their side and, following further handling errors by both sides, the game ebbed away before Mr Coulthard blew time on a hard-fought draw. Athletic will have been satisfied with their two league points, whereas the hosts were left to ponder what might have been had they took the many scoring opportunities handed to them.

Full time: SEAHAM (10) Hartlepool Athletic (10)

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