Ryton II 24-21 Tynedale Centurions

TYNEDALE’S third string were left to rue a frustrating final 10 minutes at Ryton.

The Centurions played their part in a close encounter, but a late spell of pressure saw the hosts win the County River Aln League match.

On a fine afternoon, and on an excellent pitch, both teams tried to run the ball at every opportunity and this led to a high quality, entertaining game between two well-matched sides.

In the opening 20 minutes, Ryton had the upper hand and scored an early converted try. Despite a fine tackle in midfield by Mark Smales, the ball was picked and driven close to the line.

Some superb defending by Oliver Shrimpton, Owen Loughead, Ed Craney and Callum Foxcroft kept the visitors out until a concerted drive by three forwards broke their resistance.

Tynedale managed to lose their own ball in a scrum near half way. The Ryton midfield backs produced an effective move which caught the defence off-guard, and they sauntered in under the posts before adding the extras.

Despite the setback, the Centurions took control for the remainder of the half. Ed Weir began to rip ball and drive forward, Ian Charlton was conspicuous at every ruck and maul and Rob Earnshaw led from the front with several rampaging efforts.

This pressure led to a penalty which Callum Morrell put into the corner, the ball went loose at the line-out but George Hendry tidied up and brought the dancing feet of full back Ewan Morrell into play. Held just short, the ball was re-cycled and the outstanding scrum-half Josh Turnbull saw a gap and dived through to touch down with Morrell converting.

Just before half time Spencer Tolley made a break with a chip forward which led to an attacking scrum. Earnshaw picked and drove from the base, linked with Turnbull who returned the favour by putting in Ewan Morrell, who had to stretch over the line as Ryton scrambled in defence. Again Callum Morrell converted to make the score at the break 14-14.

In the second half, the Centurions had an early period of territorial advantage with the introduction of the brothers Grant surprising the home side. Cam Grant and Callum Morrell showed pace and power but were held 10 metres out.

From the scrum, Earnshaw, Jonny Pape, and Charlie Rutherford all went close before James Grant showed great awareness to drive over the whitewash and again Callum Morrell added the conversion.

Conversely, in this period of ascendancy, the Centurions possibly lost the game. Forwards and backs combined to make breaks and potential try scoring passes to the supporting wingers Joe Matthews and Dan Heppell were either misplaced or spurned.

Smales had a very good chance after tremendous support play, but for the second week in a row, was denied a try as defenders held him as he crossed the line, and it was difficult to see if he’d managed to touch down.

This profligacy was to cost the visitors dear as the Ryton team tackled tenaciously, competed ferociously, stole line out-ball and kicked well to give them a final 10 minutes of dominance. Their well drilled pack drove over from short range and the conversion levelled the scores.

Then the experienced George Hendry, who had been having a battle royal with his opposite number, transgressed once too often, and received a yellow card.

Ryton knocked over the resulting penalty, and the home side closed out the match deep into Tynedale territory.

It was harsh on the Centurions, who had excelled throughout.