Tynedale 33 Luctonians 36

AN injury time try denied Tynedale an opening day victory after a ding-dong battle with newly promoted Luctonians.

The lead changed hands multiple times as two well-matched sides locked horns in thoroughly entertaining fashion.

But it was the visitors from Herefordshire who came out on top. Luctonians were adept at sucking in wide men by pounding attacks through the middle, and then releasing the ball wide for their backs to gallop through open spaces for the line.

It was significant that the visitors scored six tries to Tynedale’s three. It was a day to remember for Tynedale fly half Jake Rodgers, whose kicking from the tee was immaculate. He landed all seven of his pots at goal - two of them from right on the touchline.

The Tynedale backs produced some intricate moves in midfield to set up chances, but the Luctonians defence looked solid.

Tynedale pack dominated in the tight, several times shoving Lucs off their own ball, and they also held their own in the line-out.

There were several new faces on show, with Will Haydon-Wood catching the eye in the centre, while ex-Blaydon man Anthony Harvey did his bit at prop, after coming on as a late replacement.

The game was only three minutes old when Lucs were caught offside in front of their own posts, and Rodgers slotted the simple penalty.

Six minutes later, excellent play in the middle involving skipper Matty Outson and full back Rob Parker ended with right wing Will Roberts crossing wide out, but Rodgers bisected the posts from the touchline for 10-0.

Scrum half Louis Silver put Lucs back in the game on 11 minutes with a well taken try he converted himself before centre Frank Kelly took advantage of some slack tackling in midfield to cut a hole in the Tynedale defence to score a fine try on 23 minutes, to give the visitors a 12-10 lead.

The lead was a brief one, for on 29 minutes, a fine five metre scrum from Tynedale shoved the visitors back, and number eight Ben Bell pounced for the try. Rodgers again obliged with the boot and Tynedale led 17-12.

The remainder of the half belonged to Rodgers, as he landed two penalties - one from the 10 metre line - to give Tynedale a comfortable 23-12 interval lead. Full back Rob Bengry came into the line to narrow the gap with a converted try five minutes into the second half, and Tynedale paid the penalty for losing the ball in midfield soon after, when a Lucs counter attack brought a try for winger Rob Crowley.

Fly half Will Burton’s conversion attempt came back off the post , but the visitors were back in front at 24-23.

The pendulum swung back Tynedale’s way with a slick converted try from winger Guy Pike on 62 minutes, after more good work by Outson, as Tynedale led 30-24.

With seven minutes left, Luctonians exerted tremendous pressure on the Tynedale line, and despite heroic defending, replacement Cameron Tawick was able to crash over. Burton’s conversion put the visitors 31-30 to the good.

Tynedale seemed to have saved the day when Rodgers landed his fourth penalty at the end of normal time, but two minutes into injury time, Crowley crossed in the corner for his second try to spark scenes of jubilation in the Luctonians camp.