TYNEDALE Centurions travelled to Northern Panthers with a strong squad, with some new faces in the starting XV.

But the club’s third string slipped to a 46-19 defeat in front of a sizeable crowd at McCracken Park, on a pristine pitch, thanks to the attention of Centurions squad member Andy Purves.

The game kicked off in ideal conditions for rugby, and early pressure from the home side led to a pair of early tries, one of which was converted.

The Centurions responded and good breaks by Jake Sloan, supported by Martyn Hutton and one break down the right wing by Seb Johnson, were all broken down by a resolute Northern defence.

This proved to be the turning point of the match and the Panthers ran in a further two tries before the break to give them a 24-0 lead with one conversion added to the total.

A stern team talk at half time from captain Sloan left the Centurions in no doubt that the poor finishing in the first period had cost them dearly.

They came out determined to right the wrongs and sniping runs from Micky Wharton and strong surges from Toby Clifford, Jeff Wheelans and Johnny Pape troubled the home defence.

When the Northern side did get into the Tynedale half, they were awarded a penalty which was stroked over to extend their lead.

To their credit, Tynedale responded five minutes later when Mark Smales combined with Rory Dixon who raced through the Northern defence to score a great try. Dixon converted to give Tynedale hopes of a revival.

This was short-lived, however, when the Northern left wing was released in space to outstrip the home defence to score out wide.

He added another try shortly afterwards to give the home side an unassailable lead.

Far from giving up, the Centurions produced their best spell of the game.

With George Hendry putting in his trademark crunching tackles, and Callum Foxcroft, Jacob Brown, Rob Earnshaw, Jonathan Gormley and Rory Craney providing great support, Tynedale scored two tries through influential fly half Callum Morrell. This was converted by Dixon.

Then Martyn Hutton forced his way over the line for a well deserved score, having returned to the field following a painful shin injury late in the first period.

However, this was to be the end of the fight back and Northern scored one final converted try to claim the victory.

The two Tynedale props Wheelans and Pape were jointly named man of the match.

They, along with the much improved Ollie Murrell at hooker had battled hard all afternoon to contain the large Northern pack in the set piece and loose.

It wasn’t Tynedale’s day, but they have much to look forward to with new signings on board.