Tynedale 31

Preston Grasshoppers 29

TIME stood still at Corbridge on Saturday when Tynedale pulled off their third home win on the bounce.
After trailing 19-5 at the break, an out-of-sorts Tynedale snatched a late victory in an extraordinary second half which lasted 59 minutes against Preston Grasshoppers.

Much time was taken up by a protracted debate between referee Owen Taylor and his two officials, after the hosts appeared to have withstood a late Preston flurry which saw the Lancastrians parked on the Tynedale line for many long minutes.

Then the award of a late penalty to Tynedale, which was gleefully booted into touch by skipper Matty Outson, sparked a heated exchange between the sides, followed by another debate between the officials. 

A win for Tynedale had appeared unlikely at half time, with Tynedale outplayed by their visitors during the first period. 

Two tries in the opening 12 minutes by right wing Tyler Spence and centre Sam Stott against a wide open Tyne defence did not augur well, even when the home side hit back with a good move from a penalty, with number eight Joe Mills reducing the arrears.

The Hoppers were soon back in the ascendancy. Over elaboration in defence resulted in a poor clearance kick, which was run back at Tynedale for Spence to claim his second try. It was converted by Tom Davidson.

Hope flared for Tynedale when try scorer Stott was sin binned for a high tackle on winger Liam Checksfield, but Tynedale rashly chose to scrum a penalty in the Preston 22, and were shoved off their own ball by the mighty Preston pack. 

A second yellow card at the start of the second half, this time to Preston replacement Adam Howard, saw the visitors briefly down to 13 men.

Tynedale took advantage, and a series of forward drives gave lock Chris Wearmouth a converted try to take the score to 19-12.

The hosts had their tails up, and the forwards galloped over from a line-out catch and drive on 53 minutes. Replacement prop Ben Haigh scored the unconverted try.

The comeback was complete three minutes later, when the Preston restart was run back at the visitors in thrilling fashion, with Checksfield drawing his man before sending centre Jonny Burden in for a converted try to put Tynedale ahead.

Restored to full strength, Preston regrouped, and on the hour a fine drive from a scrum brought a try for centre James Fitzpatrick, converted by Davidson to nudge the visitors ahead by 26-24.

It all seemed to be over two minutes into injury time when Davidson slotted a penalty to extend the lead to five points.

But referee Taylor played on, and two well struck penalties to touch, and two fine line-out throws by replacement hooker Dan Lowdon saw Haigh go in for his second try with 89 minutes played. 

It brought the scores level and the pressure was on for young Jake Taylor to win the game with the conversion.

He slotted it coolly, but Tynedale had to withstand tremendous pressure before the final whistle was blown. 

Tynedale will travel to fourth-placed Chester on Saturday for a re-arranged fixture, following a postponement in September.