Deadly Dinnington romped to safety in the National League by stunning high-flying West Hartlepool, and also their own supporters, with a stirring five-try performance.
Dinnington began the game too close for comfort to the relegation zone in the North One East division of the league’s Northern section. And against a West Hartlepool outfit chasing promotion, the best they were hoping for was a couple of bonus points.
But instead they unleashed a stirring 45-19 victory that gave them a six-point cushion over third-from-bottom Durham City and means their survival fight does not go into the last day of the season.
Dinnington were ahead inside five minutes as John Marshall picked up at the base of a ruck to score under the posts after Tom Doughty had been stopped just short of the line. After Jonny West had converted, the visitors replied quickly and also scored under the posts to level.
Two minutes later, the hosts were back in front when West kicked a penalty, but then they paid for their adventurousness, allowing West Hartlepool to surge into a 14-10 advantage with a quarter of the game gone.
To their credit, Dinnington were not to be denied and by the half-time break, they had turned that deficit into a 20-14 lead. Turning the visitors over at a ruck, they released two quick passes that put Sam Crane in the clear on the halfway-line, and he had gone before the West Hartlepool defence could recover. West not only converted but also added a penalty moments later.
At the start of the second half, Dinnington suffered a setback when losing a player to injury. But they refused to be fazed and soon extended their lead with another West penalty after a high tackle that resulted in an opponent being sent to the sin-bin.
The hosts continued to play open rugby in an end-to-end contest and after West had scored a drop-goal, Chris Williams finished off a move involving Tyle Stimpson and West to go over in the corner and make the score 31-14.
Stung West Hartlepool replied with a penalty and an unconverted try. But any hopes of a fightback were dashed by the try of the game at the other end as Duell Trueman started and finished a flowing move with Michael Leitch.
After West had converted again, West Hartlepool were clearly deflated and Dinnington rubbed salt into their wounds with a fifth try in the closing minutes when scrum-half Simon Francis strolled under the posts.