Stockton hosted near neighbours West Hartlepool at Grangefield this afternoon, with both sides looking at promotion at the end of the season.
Groundsman Alistair Johnson had done an excellent job throughout the morning in making a wet pitch playable and play started with just a hint of rain in the air in front of a sizeable crowd.
Stockton were first on the scoreboard with a penalty from Te Kori Moore after 3 minutes, but West quickly replied when a Stockton error in their own half resulted in a West centre breaking the defence on 8 minutes to score by the posts. The try was converted and the visitors led 7-3.
Back came Stockton, with 2 penalties from Moore to take them into the lead at 9-7.
There then followed a period of sustained Stockton pressure during which they could have scored several times, but the visiting defence was secure until the 30th minute when Stockton hooker Sean Wallace forced his way over for a try. Moore converted and Stockton led 16-7.
The half closed with West Hartlepool trying everything to score, with a 5 minute period of continuous play, until Referee Lewis Lacey blew for halftime.
Whatever was said by the West Hartlepool coaching staff at half time, it seemed to work, as their pack totally dominated the second half, scoring four tries without reply, giving a final score of Stockton 16, West Hartlepool 41.
Next week Stockton have a free week, whilst West make the long trip to West Cumbria to face Aspatria.
A quick reminder that we return to 3.00pm kick offs during the first week in March.