ANOTHER performance as flat as a Lancastrian's cap sent Tynedale plunging two places down the National League Division Two North table on Saturday.

They dropped from seventh to ninth after being starved of possession by a Preston Grasshoppers side they had beaten 31-29 in November.

Tynedale were never really in the hunt and didn’t even get onto the scoreboard until the dying minutes of the game.

The return of Rob Parker to the fly half berth from his ovine adventures in Australia failed to spark Tynedale to life, as the steely Preston pack hogged the ball and denied Tynedale the chance to launch their free-scoring backs.

It was a game of few chances, and while Tynedale had a a good spell at the start of the second half, they were unable to breach the rugged Preston defence.

Director of rugby Ben Woods shuffled his pack, with hooker David Batey and flanker Ben Bell both back from injury, and Graeme Dunn was preferred to Harry Snowden in the second row.

The game was played in near perfect conditions, with Tynedale on the defensive in the opening period, as Preston’s big forwards pounded their way up the pitch.

They withstood the pressure well, although they were pinned in their own half, and both sides were guilty of a lot of errors.

The deadlock was broken on 24 minutes, when Preston fly half Tom Davidson slotted a penalty.

Preston number eight Matt Lamprey was inches short of a touchdown as the home side continued to dominate but it took another Davidson penalty following a deliberate obstruction on the stroke of half time to give the Grasshoppers a slender 6-0 interval lead.

Tynedale began the second half with much more power and purpose, and it was their turn to camp on the Preston line. They were held out by some good defensive work, and although the pack was twice over the line, they were unable to ground the ball.

There was an air of comedy about Preston’s opening try in the 56th minute, when winger Matt Crow attempted an inside pass, only for the ball to rebound back into his hands from a defender, allowing him to continue his run and touch down in the corner.

Man of the match Davidson converted and after further Hoppers’ pressure extended the lead to 16-0 with a well taken drop goal.

The score was stretched to 21-0 with 10 minutes left when more Preston pressure brought a try for centre James Fitzpatrick.

Tyne were in danger of drawing a blank for the first time this season, but with four minutes left, a line-out catch and drive brought a consolation try for replacement hooker Gareth Black. Parker was unable to convert in what was his only pot at goal of the afternoon.

Tynedale entertain second bottom Macclesfield at Corbridge on Saturday, and while they should start as favourites, the Cheshire side have given them many problems in the past.

The game kicks off at 2pm, and is the first of two consecutive home matches, as Tynedale’s game in hand against high-flying Huddersfield has been rearranged for March 16.