AFTER a pair of encouraging wins, Tynedale Centurions were brought back down to earth at home to Berwick Bears.

They slipped to a 58-12 defeat against a well-prepared side, with a full complement of replacements who had a significant impact on the outcome.

Both sides suffered injuries to key players, and Tynedale’s influential Oliver Hillary, Toby Clifford, Andy Harvey and Lewis Spark all manfully carried on with various knocks, while the Bears brought on fresh legs throughout the game.

Whilst the scoreline was decisive, the home forwards more than held their own in the loose and the tight.

However, when they lost control, the Berwick three-quarters had that great combination of skill and genuine pace. No matter how well Mark Smales, Martyn Hutton, James Bell and Jake Sloan tackled, the visitors were always able to find the support to break down any remaining defence.

The score was 24-0 at the break, but the Bears’ four tries were all scored from long range by their two flying wingers who were given the ball in space created by some fine handling.

Playing with the conditions in the second half including a driven sleet storm, the home side might have hoped to come back into the game, but a hand injury led to the loss of powerful winger Ryan Laverty. Berwick then scored two quick tries as Tynedale were unable to readjust.

The forwards refused to give up and driving play from George Hendry, Oliver Shrimpton and Ed Weir set up a scrum in the opposition 22 metre area. Scrum half Harvey took the ball close and found support from Rory Craney, who cleverly touched the ball against the base of the post protector for a try with Rory Dixon converting.

This relief was short-lived as Berwick were able to commit all defenders to score two more runaway tries before Tynedale managed to apply more pressure following good work by Andy Purves and debutant Jonathan Gormley on the half line.

The gallant Clifford and Hillary combined to battle to within 10 metres where the all-action flanker Josh Turnbull dived over. This late flurry spurred on the visitors and they added another brace to their collection of well-worked scores just before the final whistle to complete a comprehensive victory which will be remembered for the weather as well as the rugby.