Tough road for Foster


Orrell 20 West Hartlepool 10

When Barry Forster took over as West Hartlepool's director of rugby in the summer he said he was hopeful that his new club would improve on last season's results and look for a place in mid-table.

Orrell almost certainly removed the hope from that progress and West, after seven successive defeats, are now looking at a painfully swift return to the second division. Indeed, after Newcastle's latest setback there is a real possibility that both the north east's leading clubs will be relegated.

If the bookmakers are offering only short odds on that interesting double, the next question to be answered is: who will accompany West? Not Orrell, according to their Yorkshire-born captain Paul Johnson. "With five first- choice players injured we anticipated a real struggle up front," he said.

"But there's so much grit and pride at this club, that even the outsiders like me get affected by it. And in tight games at the bottom of the table, we can dog it out with anybody."

It is this mental hardness that West lack. The backs allowed themselves to be closed down too quickly in midfield, the ball was too frequently given up in contact and West's tackling, like Tim Stimpson's goalkicking, was woeful.

Not that Orrell are any great shakes, but at least they make the best of what they have. All 15 tackled as if their lives depended on it and only one try was conceded; a tapped-penalty move allowing Dave Mitchell in. In return Orrell scored two. The first claimed by Steve Bibby after a concerted rolling maul. The second, by scrum-half Austin Healey, was a gem; fully deserved and brilliantly executed.

Unless, or until, West can summon a massive improvement, the executioner awaits.

Orrell: Tries Bibby, Healey; Conversions Mason 2; Penalties Mason 2. West Hartlepool: Try Mitchell; Conversion Stimpson; Penalty Stimpson.

Orrell: S Mason; L Tuigamala, I Wynn, P Johnson (capt), G Smith; P Hamer, A Healey; P Winstanley, A Moffatt, P Mitchell, S Bibby, C Cooper, J Huxley, S Hayter, P Manley (S Griffiths, 55).

West Hartlepool: T Stimpson; O Evans, J Williams (T Knowles, 59), C Lee, A Blyth; A Parker, S Cook; P Lancaster (capt), T Herbert, M Shelley, C Murphy, D Mitchell, R Leach, R Wainwright, A Brown.

Referee: S Piercy (Goole)

Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
Life and Style
food + drink
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
a clockwork orange, stanley kubrick
filmSony could have made a cult classic
Life and Style
fashionThe essential guide to all the designer Christmas sale dates
news... you won't believe how bad their skills were

Arts and Entertainment
Mark Wright and Mark Wright
tvStrictly goes head-to-head with Apprentice
footballPremier League preview: All the talking points ahead of this weekend's clashes
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas