Richardson holds nerve to secure draw

Neil Richardson
Neil Richardson

Old Crossleyans 13 West Hartlepool 13

Fly half Neil Richardson took the plaudits in a fine all round team effort after he plunged over for a try, which he also converted, in the final minute of a tense North One East encounter.

Three tap and go penalties took Crocs to within five metres of the West Hartlepool posts with Richardson going over before keeping his nerve to land his first conversion of the campaign.

Crocs were again shorn of a number of first teamers with players turning out in unfamilair positions.

They were boosted by the return of Chris Jones, who had a tremendous game and covered every blade of grass.

Gareth Sweeney was wide with an early penalty but made amends three minutes later with a great kick from the bottom touchline.

Crocs then lost Chris Seymour in bizarre fashion - forced out of the action after just 10 minutes due to work commitments - with Jones moving to No8 and Kev McGill coming on from the bench.

Crocs doubled their lead when strong play involving scrum half Will Travis and Billy Hammond allowed Jack Hammond to dash 20 metres upfield where he won a penalty for offside and Sweeney did the rest.

West Hartlepool spurned a great chance to score their first points when fly half Stu Waites charged through poor tackles and dived under the posts only to spill the ball before he landed.

The resulting scrum was re-set three times before a combination of Boj Sembi and Sweeney cleared the danger.

The visitors did open their account early in the second period with Waites kicking a penalty. He repeated the feat soon after when Crocs had been pulled up for a trailing arm.

West Hartlepool enjoyed a decent spell and were denied a try by a superb tackle from James Wainwright who raced across the field to barge the visiting winger into touch.

However, Crocs conceded the first try of the game on the hour when No8 Sam Miller broke through with Waites converting for 6-13.

A forward pass stopped the visitors in their tracks again before Crocs regained some control.

Continued pressure late on led to the series of penalties which saw Richardson force his way over.

With Sweeney off the field it was left to Richardson to secure the draw with a confident conversion.