Tynedale 26 Wharfedale 34

IT used to be Fortress Tynedale, but the battlements at Corbridge were breached for the fifth time this season on Saturday.

The margin of victory was perhaps a little flattering for Wharfedale, but the Yorkshiremen always held the edge in what has become known as the Dales Derby - even though Wharfedale’s Threshfield ground is more than 100 miles from Corbridge.

Despite the dire warnings about the lurking Storm Ciara, the game was played in pleasant spring-like sunshine, with the gentlest of breezes barely fluttering the touch judges’ flags,

Wharfedale were always ahead, but Tynedale were always sniffing at their heels. The host’s cause was not helped by the fact they picked up two yellow cards within a minute of each other as they chased the game, with Guy Pike and Jonny Cousin following each other to the sin bin on 68 and 69 minutes for alleged foul play.

Pike’s card came when he tripped Wharfedale’s two try hero Oli Cicognini as he raced after a clever stab through by scrum half Sam Gaudie, but those better placed than referee Owen Taylor were adamant that the winger would never have reached the ball anyway.

As well as flourishing the card, Mr Taylor awarded Wharfedale a penalty try to rub salt into Tynedale’s wounds and give then a 29-19 lead. with 10 minutes remaining.

Despite being down to 13 men, Tynedale hurled themselves at their opponents, and were rewarded when the ever reliable Ben Bell crashed in for his second try of the afternoon, converted by Jake Rodgers.

With the game well into injury time , the visitors were trying to run down the clock in defence of their narrow three point lead. They were playing keep ball, but a gap unexpectedly opened, and replacement Sam Booker was as surprised as anyone to score the try that denied Tynedale a second bonus point.

The four try bonus point they did earn was enough to keep them in seventh place in National League Division Two North, but the chasing pack are gathering below to take advantage of any more slip ups.

Will Miller was a late cry-off for Tynedale, with the speedy Jonny Burden taking his place in the centre, and it was Burden who saved Tynedale’s bacon with a timely tackle in only the third minute when the lightning quick Cicognini appeared to be carving his way through to the line.

The respite was only temporary, for on eight minutes, the winger took advantage of some quick hands to slide in at the corner.

Fly half Jack Blakeney-Edwards converted superbly from the touchline, but Tynedale hit back immediately.

A period of pressure in the Wharfedale 22 ended with right wing Tom Bramwell squeezing over right in the corner - but fly half Jake Rodgers’ conversion was equally as impressive as his opposite number’s to level things at 7-7.

Blakeney Edwards put Wharfedale back in front with a penalty on 20 minutes, and the Yorkshiremen went further ahead on 34 minutes when a powerful attack from a line-out brought a try for full back Rian Hamilton.

Blakeney-Edwards’ conversion took the score to 17-7, but as half time loomed, a superb crossfield kick from skipper Matty Outson was brilliantly kept in play by Tynedale to allow centre Liam Checksfield to cross, to make it 17-12 to Wharfedale at the break.

Wharfedale extended their lead seven minutes into the second period , when another Cicognini break took him deep into the Tynedale half. He was half tackled, but got up to touch down for an unconverted try.

Tynedale refused to lie down, and on 58 minutes, the indefatigable Ben Bell rounded off a good spell of pressure by going in under the posts for Rodgers to convert for a 22-19 scoreline to the visitors.

Then came the penalty try drama, followed by Bell’s second try, and the final score by Booker to break Tynedale hearts.

Tynedale face more Yorkshire opposition on Saturday, when they travel to 12th placed Huddersfield, who will be thirsting for revenge after their 33-18 defeat at Corbridge in November.