They took a decisive step towards that with a passionate performance against Gloucester at Victoria Park yesterday. Error strewn the game may have been, but it is the result which counts. If West do survive -and five of their remaining seven games are at home - Brewer should arrange the freedom of Hartlepool for Steve Vile.
The little outside-half from Waratah, Australia, deserves nothing less after contributing 28 of West's 33 points with the opening try, which he converted, a dropped goal, and six penalties, in a low quality, though marvellously exciting, match, which Gloucester should have killed stone dead when Steve Ojomoh and Mark Mapletoft tries in the final quarter put them 32-27 ahead.
But Gloucester have been something of a joke away from the comfort of Kingsholm, winning only once, at Richmond back in September. With an hour played, it looked as if Philippe Saint-Andre's first league match in charge, might be the second.
However, it was not to be. Gloucester allowed the West forwards to gain huge slices of territory and, despite a first-half penalty try and touchdowns from Nathan Carter and Tom Beim, too many unforced errors gave Vile all the kicking practice required to win the game.
West Hartlepool: Tries Vile, Monkley; Conversion Vile; Penalties Vile 6; Drop Goal: Vile. Gloucester: Tries Penalty try, Beim, Carter, Ojomoh, Mapletoft; Conversions Mapletoft 2; Penalty: Mapletoft.
West Hartlepool: E Farrell (T Handley 27, G Maclure 72); J Benson, M Mullins, P Greaves, S John; S Vile, T Nu'uali'itia; S Sparks, S McDonald, K Fourie, P Farner (capt), M Giacheri, M Salter, D Monkley, M Brewer.
Gloucester: C Catling; B Johnson (P Saint-Andre 59), T Fanolua, S Mannix, T Beim; M Mapletoft, S Benton (I Sanders 59); T Woodman (T Windo 74), N McCarthy (C Fortey 74), A Deacon, R Fidler, D Sims (capt M Cornwell H-T), E Pearce (A Hazell 65), N Carter, S Ojomoh.
Referee: B Campsall (Halifax).Reuse content