Following the previous two weeks’ victories ground out in challenging conditions, Tynedale Raiders travelled to Middlesbrough in good spirits and hopeful of doing an early season double over Middlesbrough Wasps, having overcome the Teesside outfit by more than 100 points only in October.

Even during the warm-up it was evident that conditions would fully play their part in proceedings as the pitch was extremely heavy, making any slick back-play or fleet-footed running an almost impossibility.

Tynedale kicked the game off under a darkening sky and, for the first 10 minutes, applied constant waves of pressure on Middlesbrough without ever really stretching the defence to be able to land a killer blow. In fact, the young Tynedale side struggled all day to generate quick ruck ball and meaningful forward momentum to set free their backs and runners.

Having weathered the early pressure, it was Middlesbrough who struck first, their direct running lines and abrasiveness at the breakdown allowing them to play in behind the panicked Tynedale defence and create an opening for their centre to crash over for an unconverted score.

An almost carbon copy attack followed on 28 minutes and again the Raiders found themselves under their own posts as the Middlesbrough kicker was successful this time with the conversion, 12-0.

From the restart, Tynedale showed their best attacking shape and some neat hands from both forwards and backs put full-back Tom McAllum in space 15 metres out and he darted through to score an unconverted try to bring the score to 12-5 with 34 minutes played.

Tynedale tried to find a levelling score before the half time whistle, but both ponderance in attack and softness in the breakdown area cost them any further scoring opportunities.

The second half turned into something of a turgid affair with neither side able to build phased possession, but on 70 minutes Middlesbrough effectively sealed the win with a fine break off the back of a line-out and some good off-the-shoulder support seeing them score a converted try under the posts to give a final score of 19-5.

Middlesbrough showed a spirited and combative side, but this was very much a day to forget for the Raiders who were outfought in almost every aspect of the game.