Tynedale 27 Stourbridge 29

FORMER Tynedale winger Dan Rundle returned to Corbridge on Saturday to break his former teammates’ hearts.

In their first game in a month following three postponements, Tynedale appeared to be heading for a much needed victory as they led 27-24 deep into injury time.

Stourbridge were pressing, but Tynedale were defending well against wave after wave of attacks from the boys from the Black Country.

Then replacement prop Ben Haigh was shown a yellow card, forcing Tynedale to sacrifice centre Jonny Burden in order to bring back prop Liam Carmichael to shore up the scrum.

The Tynedale scrum held, but having sucked in defenders, Stourbruidge whipped the ball out to the left, where Tynedale were sort of numbers, and Rundle skated in for his second try of the afternoon.

It was the last play of the game, and Tynedale had lost by two points, leaving them still looking over their shoulders towards the relegation dogfight.

The bitter taste of defeat was exacerbated by the fact that Tynedale also lost talismanic skipper Matty Outson early in the second half, carried off with what looked a very nasty ankle injury.

The two bonus points they gleaned kept them in ninth place in National League Division Two North but they are far from being out of the woods.

Tynedale were without regular fly half and goal kicker Jake Rodgers, so Outson took the number 10 shirt, with teenager Callum Pascoe coming in at scrum half.

Also missing was free-scoring flanker Ben Bell, giving Tom McCullough a rare first team start.

Tynedale looked a little rusty in the opening stages after their lengthy spell on the sidelines, while Stourbrudge hit the ground running. They could have been ahead in the opening minute, when it took a fine tackle by full back Rob Parker to stop winger Josh Trinham. However, the respite was temporary, as after a period of forward pressure, hooker Jack Lea forced his way over from a few yards out with five minutes gone.

Tynedale bounced back well, putting the visitors under pressure. From a penalty scrum, Outson whipped the ball out wide, where left wing Guy Pike was able to cross for the equalising try.

Parker was unable to convert, but he was on target with a penalty on 13 minutes to give Tynedale the edge.

Good work by fly half Afeafe Haisila sent Rundle in for his first try on 16 minutes, Haisila converting to give the visitors a 12-8 lead.

Tynedale came back well, dominating territory and possession, and on 34 minutes good handling put Pike in for his second try, converted by Parker. In added on time, a quickly taken penalty put more pressure on the Stourbridge line, and Haigh was able to stretch over. Parker’s conversion gave Tynedale a 22-12 interval lead.

After Outson had gone off five minutes into the second half, Tynedale lost some direction, and good handling saw Stour narrow the gap through centre Joe Heatley, with replacement Chris Scott converting.

And on 68 minutes, a series of forward drives from a five metre penalty saw Lea batter his way over for his second try to put the visitors into the lead at 24-22.

Again Tynedale came back, Pike setting up their bonus point try for centre Liam Checksfield with 75 minutes gone.

However, Sturbridge kept plugging away, which led to a grandstand finish with Rundle crossing wide out to break Tynedale hearts.

Tynedale will try for the third time to play their game in hand against Huddersfield on Saturday, hoping to put some distance between themselves and the relegation zone. Huddersfield have five fewer points.