DMPRFC U17's 25 - 17 West Hartlepool U17's
Hard fought victory secures valuable league points
Sun 1 Oct 17, saw DMPRFC U17’s host West Hartlepool U17’s at the Northern Echo Arena with both teams being privileged to have use of the first team pitch and changing rooms for the game. This game is only the second league game for the U17’s having seen previous league games cancelled or changed to friendlies due to their opposition teams withdrawing from the league.
With Ben Cooper appointed Captain for the game, he delivered an emotional and motivational speech within the changing room inspiring his team to take the fight to West Hartlepool, following which both teams took to the field to rapturous applause from the crowd.
Following the kick off, early spoils went to West Hartlepool who caught the home team sleeping, securing themselves a well-deserved try after some great display of rugby, which saw both their forward pack and back line dominate the DMP U17’s 22m area. An unsuccessful conversion by West Hartlepool was a let off for the home team, however they led, 0 - 5. After the restart, DMP began to apply their own style of pressure to the West Hartlepool defensive line and soon crossed the line after a strong run by Conor Martin to secure 5 points for his team. The conversion was missed, but the impact against the posts by the ball tested the posts foundations with the sound rattling around the arena with a thunderous roar.
Following the restart, West Hartlepool continued targeting the DMP defence and kept the host team deep in their own half, applying pressure at every opportunity. This style of play soon rewarded West Hartlepool with another try, securing a further 5 points, inches from the touchline and credit to their try scorer for keeping himself within the field of play following a barrage of DMP players attempting to take him off the field. This conversion was again missed but West Hartlepool had taken the lead 5 - 10. The restart by DMP saw a fantastic catch at speed by Ben King, who by attacking the space, created a wonderful attacking opportunity for DMP. This positive action by DMP saw them secure 5 points with a try in the left hand side corner by Max King and with a further 2 points secured following a successful conversion by Callum Piert, the game was too close to call, however, as the whistle signalled half time, the hosts went into the break leading 12 - 10.
Following the second half whistle, West Hartlepool immediately brought the fight back to DMP, resulting in end-to-end rugby as both sides sought to run the ball at every opportunity trying to break the defensive lines and the deadlock. A period of heavy dominance by West Hartlepool ensued in which they continually stretched the DMP defensive line and by using this style of play to their advantage, they secured a try against the base of the posts, and successfully converted for a well-deserved 7 points, taking the lead. 10 – 17.
As the game continued to be end-to-end rugby, knowing that points were crucial for the win, an un-expected but well-aimed drop goal by Callum Piert secured 3 needed points, which was quickly followed up by a successful penalty, securing the hosts the lead, 18 – 17. As the game moved into the final 10 minutes, DMP continued testing West Hartlepool’s defensive resolve and eventually, following stern pressure by DMP, a forced kick by West Hartlepool to clear their lines resulted in a charge down, whereby a quick thinking Matthew Chapman grabbed the opportunity and secured DMP a further 5 points, which was followed up with a successful conversion taking the score to 25 – 17.
The final few minutes saw a flurry of rugby activity from one end of the pitch to the other as West Hartlepool continued their fight back, testing the DMP defensive line, however, DMP were able to see the game out, sealing the victory and securing the all-important league points. This was an excellent win by DMP, but more importantly, it was a complete team effort, which saw newer players and seasoned players all wearing the DMP jersey with a sense of pride, confidence, achievement and sportsmanship.
The excellent display of rugby by both sides was equally matched when both teams came together to shake hands in a wonderful display of team spirit and as the two teams hosted player tunnels off the pitch, the crowd further showed their respect having witnessed a wonderful game of rugby.
Thank you to both sets of players and coaches for making the game a thrilling one and to all parents for all the support shown to both teams. Thanks to the referee, whose efforts during the game allowed for some great rugby to be played and finally thank you to the DMP Director of Rugby, Danny Brown and his staff for the use of the first team pitch and facilities. A request from the U17’s players for their next game on the first team pitch is for a couple of the first team crates of beer to be chilled ready for them following the final whistle.