Gone West

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The Independent Online
WHEN West Hartlepool look back next spring on their undistinguished start to the 1995-96 Courage Championship, they may well rue handing victory yesterday to their potential relegation rivals, Gloucester.

The north-east club were cruising to their first victory of the season when they led 19-10 with just 15 minutes remaining. But West then gifted the visitors two soft tries which left them propping up the League One table with three defeats from three starts and enabled Gloucester to get their own campaign off the mark.

Gloucester's captain Dave Sims charged over unopposed between West's posts for a try which Martyn Kimber converted. And the visitors went three points ahead when a defensive mix-up sent Paul Holford through for his second try of the game. Gloucester completed the scoring in injury time with their fourth try, by replacement prop Andy Deacon, which sealed an unlikely 27-19 victory.

Kimber also landed a penalty and converted Holford's first try while West's try came from Alan Brown and Tim Stimpson kicked four penalties and a conversion.

Four players were sent off in the Heineken League First Division. The Newport lock Kevin Moseley and Bridgend's hooker Ian Greenslade were dismissed for fighting after 17 minutes at Rodney Parade. Newport won 27-12 with their Canadian fly-half Gareth Rees helping himself to 17 points. The Treorchy lock Steve Evans received his marching orders in the 24-21 defeat at Abertillery and the Pontypridd prop Andrew Metcalfe was sent off in the leaders' 14-9 victory at Newbridge. Ieuan Evans ran in a hat-trick of tries on his return after a neck injury as Llanelli won 60-15 at Ebbw Vale, scoring nine tries for maximum bonus points for the second week running. Neath scored three tries in a hard-fought 20-10 win at Aberavon.