TYNEDALE Centurions bounced back from their heartbreaking Candy cup semi-final defeat against Ashington in fine style.

They took on Northern Wanderers on Saturday, and progressed to the final of the Northumberland Third Team Cup with an impressive 24-22 victory at McCracken Park.

Playing into a stiff breeze, Tynedale took a fifth minute lead when Ewan Morell broke free, and fed Ben Common who moved the ball to powerful centre Zak Pearce, who galloped to the line to score the opening try.

Both sides were determined to gain the upper hand, but they were evenly matched, with the strong Tynedale defence being tested to the limit.

There were a couple of superb turnovers by Dave Nichols and by Mark Smailes, bravely diving at the feet of the Northern centre.

Eventually the large Northern pack wore down the smaller Tynedale eight, and were rewarded with a try on 20 minutes.

Despite the Tynedale front row of Owen Loughead, Ed Craney and Owen Shield working tirelessly to keep the scrums even, Northern were winning a lot of quality balls, which led to a further try for the home side before the interval to give them a lead of 10-5. Slack defending after the break saw Northern score a converted try, giving them a 12-point cushion.

With the wind behind them, Tynedale used the elements to their advantage by kicking the ball deep into the opposition half, making the Northern defence turn to retrieve the ball and making it difficult for them to clear their lines.

On 52 minutes, powerful number eight Ollie Hilary broke through the home defence to score the second try to bring Tynedale back into the tie.

The Centurions were winning better line-out balls through Callum Foxcroft, with support from Ollie Murrell and captain Jake Sloan coming into the back line to create space for wingers Ryan Laverty and Tom Shrimpton,

Tynedale were constantly threatening the Northern line and were rewarded when Micky Hall forced his way over. Fly half Adam Todhunter added the conversion to bring the scores level.

Tynedale continued to play in the Northern half, and introduced Andy Neal, Andy Harvey and Olly Shrimpton from the strong replacements bench to add fresh legs to the Centurions cause.

And they took the lead when number eight Hilary scored his second try to strengthen his claim to the man of the match performance. Todhunter added the extras, adding to an all-round impressive display by the outside half.

With five minutes remaining, the home side set up a nail-biting finale to the game by forcing their way over the Tynedale line, eventually finishing off a rolling maul wide on the right hand side. The conversion attempt failed into the face of the strong wind.

Tynedale held the Northern side out in the closing minutes to gain an impressive victory over the Wanderers side who had inflicted a heavy defeat on them earlier in the season.

It demonstrated the improvements made by the team and compensated in some ways for the narrow defeats suffered by the Centurions in recent games, including the 36-32 reverse against Ashington.