DURHAM and Northumberland One leaders Horden took the derby honours with a 27-19 win over Hartlepool Rovers at the Friarage.
After Rovers were first to show through a line-out steal by Glen Wise and a charging run by Lee Maddison, it was Horden who took a 7-0 lead after six minutes.
A poorly directed clearance kick was fielded by David Heckles on his 22. The full-back set off, chipped and collected on halfway, and then put in an elusive run to the line for a fine solo try, Andrew Turner adding the extra points.
The number 10 then went wide with a 30 metre penalty on 16 minutes and then he and Craig Jones nearly squeezed in at the right hand clubhouse corner.
The Rovers’ scrum was creaking under the pressure of the away eight and the pressure increased when Wise was yellow carded after 22 minutes. When the next set-piece collapsed, Mr Sutherland ran between the posts to award a penalty try, Turner adding the simple conversion.
The 14 men of Rovers then rocked Horden by fighting their way upfield to the away 22 where Stewart Grazier powered forward.
He was supported by Taz Pelser, who sent Maddison in from 15 metres out, Chris Sainty converted although he later went wide on 39 minutes with a 35 metre penalty.
With the first half in added time, Rovers turned defence into attack in an instant. James Evens, returning after injury, backed himself as he broke from his own 22 and Pelser then acted as the link to Liam Austwicke. The full back, making his first appearance of the season, took over on the home 10 metre line and had a lot to do but a mazy run took him all the way, Sainty again converting to make the interval score 14-14.
The level playing field shifted in favour of the visitors when Maddison was sin binned and the extra man was made to count as Horden pulled the defence in and created an overlap for Jones to sneak in at the Steetley corner.
Jones had, like opposite number Harry Cox, seen little of the ball but proceeded to score his second try in a minute.
The right wing kicked ahead from the restart but David Grand and Austwicke left the ball for each other.
The ball bounced kindly for the chasing Jones to streak away the 40 metres to the line.
Turner’s conversion increased the lead to 26-14 with 53 minutes played and he then added three more points with a 27 metre penalty just after the hour mark.
Rovers pulled a deserved consolation score back with the final move of the game.