Tynedale 19 Sheffield Tigers 18

AFTER trailing for much of the game, Tynedale finally got their noses in front when it mattered against a classy Sheffield Tigers side on Saturday.

Everyone thought fly half Jake Rodgers’ conversion, following number eight Ethan Clarke’s late late score deep into injury time would be the final action of a pulsating game and that Tynedale had won by a single point.

However, referee Owen Taylor conjured up still more injury time in the gathering gloom, and Tynedale hearts sank when his arm went up for a penalty to the visitors five minutes into added on time.

It was central though some 45 metres out, but Tigers fly half Mark Ireland had been kicking beautifully all afternoon.

It seemed that at the seventh time of asking, Tigers would achieve their first ever win over Tynedale.

But unfortunately for the number 10, his standing foot slipped on the greasy turf as he was taking the kick, and the ball barely rose above head height.

He fell flat on his back in disappointment and Tynedale were able to celebrate an unlikely win over the side one place above them in National League Division Two North.

The win lifted Tynedale to fourth in the table but it had been a tough battle in treacherous conditions,

Tynedale welcomed back skipper Matty Outson from holiday, but not to his regular number nine shirt. The versatile captain instead turned out at full back, allowing Callum Pascoe to continue at scrum half, where he has developed a good understanding with fly half Jake Rodgers.

There was a debut in the centre for 18 year old Seamus Hutton, and he acquitted himself well on a tricky day for backs.

The Tynedale forwards had a great day, particularly in the line-out, where good jumping from Graeme Dunn, Jonny Cousin and Harry Snowdon stole the ball on numerous occasions.

They impressed all afternoon, particularly in the last few minutes, when they recycled the ball through many phases on the Tigers line before grabbing the all important try.

Tynedale were under the cosh for the first 10 minutes, but weathered the storm well and produced some determined attacking of their own without really threatening the Tigers’ line. They turned down two straightforward penalties to go for fruitless line-outs - a ploy which so nearly proved costly.

The deadlock was broken on the half hour, when the Sheffield forwards put together a churning 20-metre forward drive which took them over the line, for flanker Jack Redfern Brown to get the touchdown. Ireland converted, and four minutes later added a penalty to give the visitors a 10-0 lead. It seemed Tynedale would draw a rare first half blank but two minutes into first half injury time, the ever alert centre Jonny Burden snapped up an interception on the 10 metre line, and scorched away to score under the posts for Rodgers to convert.

That made it 10-7 to the Tigers at the break, but just a minute into the second half, slick passing between left wing Peter Swatkins and centre Jamie Broadley saw the latter go in unchallenged for a good try.

A kick to the corner brought a Tynedale line-out, from which prop Mike Hughes stole yet another Tigers’ throw and crashed over to score to make it15-12 to the Tigers. Another Ireland penalty following a high tackle made it 18-12 with just over 10 minutes left.

The hosts then laid siege to the Sheffield line, and were repulsed many times before Clarke’s moment of glory two minutes into added on time. The great feast of rugby followed the annual pre-match past players’ lunch.

Tynedale are off to the Black Country on Saturday to lock horns with old rivals Stourbridge. The Midlanders lie just three points and two places behind Tynedale.