Barnard Castle 25

West Hartlepool Amateurs 5

BARNARD CASTLE'S season has stuttered, originally because of bad weather and now due to the foot-and-mouth outbreak.

They were only able to play their home league fixture against West Hartlepool Amateurs thanks to the county school, who made a pitch available as the club's pitches are sealed off.

Castle quickly found they were not going to have everything their own way and a strong West pack continually pushed the home side off the ball. Castle's backs were keen to run at West, but they defended well and Castle's only reward in the first half was two penalties by Will Hutchinson.

After the break, Castle stepped up a gear and Hutchinson broke through West's defence to score under the posts and add the conversion.

The visitors put Castle under pressure and forced numerous five-metre scrums, but the home side somehow managed to hold out.

After a lengthy spell of treatment, prop Norman Gregson produced a scintillating burst of speed to set up full back Ken Sneddon for a try converted by Hutchinson to give Castle a comfortable lead.

West were not to be denied and good work by their forwards was finally rewarded with their only try.

Castle came straight back and their new signing, second row Andy Thompson, touched down to seal a good 25-5 win. Man of the match: Phil Mott.

Team: Sneddon, Armstrong, Proud, Burgess, Stainthorp, Hutchinson, Bellwood, Gregson, Bottoms, Ellwood, Richardson, Thompson, Dixon, Mott, J Hutchinson. Subs: M Barber, Marshall, Ruddock.

Castle seconds made it a double away to West Hartlepool Amateurs seconds when they won 14-0. Their points came from a try by Nick Atkinson and penalties by Charlie Bainbridge.