Whitby Harlequins entertained a very physical Hartlepool team looking for a win to place them at the top of the Tees Valley League.
However, Captain Jon Hatton was equally determined to spoil their party and led a predominantly young side to their finest victory this season.
Realising the Quins were not going to win a forward dominated match, Hatton inspired them to spin the ball wide at every opportunity and only 10 minutes elapsed before second row Luke Brown linked with the backs to score the opening unconverted try.
Rovers characteristically responded strongly, but as has been the case all season, the young Whitby side never missed a tackle and in the 21st minute, flanker Joe Russell picked up a loose pass to sprint 40 metres to score a the home side’s second try. The conversion by Barney Fountain made the score 12-0.
A rare transgression by the Quins allowed the visitors to score a penalty from in front of the posts. As Whitby settled themselves back into the game it was not long before centre Aaron Jones received a well timed pass from Tyler Kay to open his account with a conversion added.
Despite the much stronger ‘Pool pack, Whitby’s Dave Mahaffey led the home forwards perfectly, aided by Darren Wright and Matt Coomber, providing yet more possession for Jones to score his second try just before half-time, once again converted by Fountain.
As expected, Hartlepool began the second half strongly, having the advantage of the wind and slope.
Their number eight, proving a real handful, controlled the scrums well in the hosts’ 22 before crashing over from short range to give the visitors their first try.
Panic and poor decision making continued through the half with Whitby allowing ‘Pool to dominate and their second try soon followed taking the score to 26-13.
Whitby were having to rely on their first half lead as they constantly failed to re-create their former dominance through the backs. Relentless Harlepool attacks were only halted by the young side’s impeccable defence.
However, just as it looked as if the home side might let this game slip away, it was left to Jones, once again, to seal the victory with a dramatic 90m sprint for his hat-trick.
Again ‘Quins proved that their fast, open style of play which they have developed over the season, combined with a faultless defence can overcome a much stronger and more experienced side.
Great performances from Guy Taylor and Jon Hatton in defence, but man of the match could only go to Aaron Jones.
Whitby Harlequins 33 Hartlepool Rovers 13