HAVING made several changes, Tynedale Centurions took time to settle against West End RFC in the County River Aln League.

But after a costly mix-up in the opening stages, Tynedale’s third XV ran out 46-29 winners.

On 15 minutes, Andy Purves fielded a kick on halfway, jinked infield to pass the ball to flanker Rob Earnshaw, who made a powerful burst only to be held just short of the line. Ed Weir did well to get up in support and crashed over underneath the posts.

From the resulting kick off, Adam Telfer caught and drove through a couple of tackles and timed a sweet pass to Dan Heppell. The right wing raced towards the corner but was held 10 metres out. The ball was swept to his left wing counterpart Joe Matthews who also went close before feeding full back Seth Kippax-Jones to finish a nice move.

A Spencer Tolley blind side break saw Heppell sprint 50 metres only to be collared again. From a resulting scrum, Oliver Hillary scattered defenders to cross wide out. A resilient West End finished the half with an impressive score to make it 17-12 at the break.

Playing with the stiff breeze in the second half, Tynedale were able to dominate territorially but never quite put the game to bed.

Kippax-Jones retrieved a kick in his own 22, exchanged passes with Heppell before finding centre Ryan Laverty who was tackled close to the line. Scrum half Andy Harvey responded swiftly and beat the defence to score the best try of the match.

Shortly afterwards, good foraging by George Hendry saw him link with Hillary, Callum Murrell, and then Ian Charlton to drive the ball close. Another scrum saw Hillary again pick, and prove too powerful for several defenders who knew what to expect but were unable to prevent the try.

An attempted clearance kick by the Centurions failed to find touch and the strong running West End threequarters finished with a well-taken score.

A sustained period of pressure saw Weir, Murrell, and Charlton drive almost to the line before Earnshaw solved the defensive puzzle by athletically diving over the top of the ruck.

Good communication between Rory Craney and Hendry looked to have relieved some West End pressure, but a penalty, awarded for a trip, was tapped and led to a score. They repeated the dose with another quickly worked penalty move to bring them back into the game at 38-29 with 10 minutes remaining.

A stern lecture from skipper Jake Sloan led to a much more controlled finale and the home side were kept out of the Tynedale half.

In the closing stages, Sloan himself took the ball up into the 22 and slipped a pass to Hillary who completed a hat-trick of tries that his performance deserved. Morrell converted five of the seven tries in a compelling game which was closer than the scoreline suggested.