West Hartlepool 27 Doncaster Phoenix 28

Dan Porter scores for Phoenix. Photo: FSP Images
Dan Porter scores for Phoenix. Photo: FSP Images

Doncaster Phoenix, with a game still in hand over all their main rivals, maintained pole position in North One East with a dramatic 28-27 victory at the once mighty West Hartlepool.

Phoenix held their breath as the match looked likely to end in the same way as Scotland’s heartbreaking World Cup quarter-final against Australia, but they were able to celebrate a hard-fought victory when West Hartlepool missed a long-range penalty attempt with the last kick of the game.

Phoenix got off to a shaky start when they conceded penalty goals in the third and then the sixth minute.

But within two minutes they had taken control with the first of their bonus-winning four tries and by quarter time had turned a 6-0 deficit into a 20-6 lead.

Right winger Lee Wallace got the first touchdown. Fly-half Jamie Lennard missed the conversion, but two minutes later he slotted over a penalty goal to give Phoenix the lead.

Ryan Peacey crashed over on 12 minutes, and midway through the first half centre Dave Hankinson raced in for a try which Lennard converted.

It was stalemate for the next 15 minutes until Hartlepool replied with a converted try to make the score 20-13 at half time.

Within two minutes of the re-start Lennard added another penalty, and eight minutes later full-back Dan Porter touched down for their fourth and final try.

But, with the score at 28-20, the visitors were then forced into defence for the last quarter.

Hartlepool scored a converted try on 60 minutes and were then awarded a penalty try which they converted to get the score back to within one point, and a nail-biting final ten minutes saw Phoenix hang on by the skin of their teeth.

The Castle Park side are still level with Morley on league points, but ahead on scoring difference.