TYNEDALE Centurions went down 61 points to 29 against Ponteland II in the Candy Vase final.

The game was played on a glorious Easter Saturday, with both teams contributing to a wonderfully entertaining final.

The main difference between the two sides was behind the pack, where the home side welcomed back several of last year’s winning County Colts Cup winners, who showed plenty of flair and pace to score freely.

By way of contrast, the Centurions’ three-quarter line included a quartet of forwards, who were able to defend initial attacks. However, they were overwhelmed when a quickly recycled ball was moved with bewildering speed.

The home side scored five scintillating tries in the first half but the Centurions’ hard work saw them gain field position and score three of their own to leave them hanging on at 33-17 at half time.

All three of the tries followed quickly taken penalties in the Ponteland 22-metre area. Oliver Hillary ran strongly to feed Ethan McLeod who - although held up short - managed to produce a good rucked ball that Andy Stevens whipped wide right for Jack Robson to glide over.

Hillary then drove and jinked his way close and Micky Hall spread the ball to Mark Smales out wide on the left wing, who managed to beat two men and score.

Hall then jinked close to the line, and as the ball ran loose at the ruck the powerful Owen Shield picked up and was unstoppable from 10 metres out.

However, in the second period, Tynedale began to wilt in the heat, while Ponteland ran the ball from everywhere on the pitch.

Only some fine last ditch tackling from Joe Richards, Jake Sloan and Spencer Gorman restricted them to four tries.

One in particular was out of the top drawer, involving a dozen players behind their own try line and some magnificent handling and support play.

After playing much of the second half under pressure, the introduction of veterans Andy Purves and Ian Charlton in the final 15 minutes saw a revived spirit in the tiring forwards, and they managed two late tries that their efforts thoroughly deserved.

A fine drive by Phil Scandle was continued by Callum Foxcroft and Tom Dilworth before Charlton was held up over the line.

The front row of Scandle, Owen Loughhead and Jason Armstrong continued their domination in the scrum as they powerfully drove for the line and Hall picked up to dive over to score a superb try for Tynedale.

In the final move of the match, Loughhead and Armstrong carried close to the line and Chris Nicholls slid over to touch down.

This gave his dad, Dave Nicholls, who was playing in his final match, the opportunity to add a conversion.

It was a fitting end to a very entertaining game of rugby, which was well refereed and played in fine spirit by players of both sides.

Despite the defeat, there were many positives for Tynedale to take from the match as they look ahead to next season.