TYNEDALE Raiders bounced back to winning ways in style following their close midweek defeat to Durham University, as they beat Harrogate Georgians 26-5.

The home side kicked off in near perfect conditions on an outstanding playing surface testament to the work of groundsman Peter Simpson and his team at Tynedale Park.

However, it was Harrogate who started the brighter with a series of strong carries by their sizeable back row. The Raiders’ defenders had to be at their best to prevent an almost certain score early on.

Having absorbed a number of visiting attacks, the Raiders found themselves with a good spell of possession in the Harrogate half and, following over 20 phases of controlled play and close quarter drives, they moved the ball wide for winger Callum Morrell to dive in. It was converted by Cam Grant to make it 7-0.

The rest of the half was played out with both sides playing an expansive brand of rugby but, ultimately, the defences held firm and the Raiders turned around with a single score lead.

Early in the second half, Harrogate managed to break free from halfway and ran a try into the corner which they were unable to convert.

The next period was all Harrogate but the Raiders’ tackling at the break-down was superb and kept the Yorkshire side at bay. When Tynedale did get some phases of possession, they moved the ball wide for Morrell to again squeeze in the corner for an unconverted try, with the score at 12-5.

The next score was crucial, and it was the Raiders who now looked the more likely against the heavier opposition. The excellent John Clarkson, sniping through a gap at a ruck base on the opposition 10-metre line, demonstrated quick feet to race under the posts for Grant to convert. It was 19-5 with 15 minutes left to play.

Harrogate continued to hammer their heavy ball carriers into contact but, again, the tackling was exceptional by all, with Ed Craney in particular leading the way with a fine performance.

On 33 minutes, a fine break by outside centre and man of the match Rory Cramb got the Raiders deep into Harrogate territory. From the ensuing set piece, Dicky Dunn eventually broke through to score a converted try, rounding off what was the Raiders’ finest team performance for some seasons.