TYNEDALE were denied the Northumberland Senior Cup by a former favourite.

Alan Gledson, who attracts legendary status for his involvement with the Corbridge-based rugby club, masterminded a narrow victory for Northern this week 25 years ago as head coach as they and Tynedale went head-to-head in the county cup final.

Their appearance in the 1995 showdown was Tynedale’s fifth in a row, and they were gunning for the top prize against the team coached by Gledson, the man who captained Tyne to their first county cup success in recent times in 1988.

Tynedale went into the game on the back of a busy fortnight, a handful of their players turning out for Northumberland at Twickenham just days before the county cup semi-final with Morpeth in midweek, in which Tynedale put in one of their best performances of the season to make the final against Northern.

Their opponents also had another old boy determined to make his mark on the outcome of the game.

Scrum half Ian Donkin had left Corbridge in frustration the season before after being unable to hold down a regular place. Donkin, who had been nursing an ankle injury, left the field of play before half time after being injured in a pile-up.

He and Gledson were equally as animated on the touchline, however, as they willed their new team on to victory.

The game itself was an anti-climax and a drab affair, no tries scored with Northern taking the cup home by scoring two penalties to Tynedale’s one.

Referee Fraser Gill was accused of being lenient throughout the game when many other officials may have not allowed so much to flow. Northern had the wind behind them in the first half and were ahead after just four minutes, fly half Bryan Russell sending over a penalty from the edge of the 22.

The lead should have been extended soon after when Tynedale scrum half Simon Clatyon-Hibbott pounced a little too early. Play was marched forward 10 metres as he argued his point but Russell sent his kick wide.

Tynedale’s best moment of the first half came on 17 minutes when Scott Ferguson’s quick throw set up a counter attack courtesy of Derek Stephenson, but his offload was a poor one which led to Craig Johnston knocking on.

Donkin was stretchered off soon after and Northern took a little while to readjust to the change.

Tyne nearly took advantage through two quick tap penalties, one of which saw Andrew Blyth feed Ferguson out wide for a promising attack.

Ferguson produced a deft chip ahead and a move involving Clatyon-Hibbott, Stephenson and Gary Fleming was nearly finished off by Johnston, but he was forced into touch at the crucial moment.

Russell passed up another opportunity from the tee as Northern ended the half strongly, but he was successful deep into injury time to take the score to 6-0, his kick looking like it was going well wide before the ball quickly deviated through the posts.

Tynedale had a lot of work to do in the second half but their hearts were in their mouths when Russell picked up a loose ball after Clayton-Hibbott's kick was charged down, only for Ferguson to come to the rescue with a try saving tackle.

The Corbridge side's lifeline came on 18 minutes when the trusty left boot of Blyth reduced the deficit to three points. However, Blyth and Michael Ord both missed chances to level the scores late on.

Cue wild scenes of jubilation from Gledson, Donkin and co.