FORGET fingernails being bitten down to the quick - some Tynedale fans are already up to their elbows after another dramatic Saturday afternoon of changing fortunes.

Eight of Tynedale’s games so far this season have been decided by three or fewer points, and this was another which could have gone either way.

Tynedale trailed for much of the game, but in a blistering second half, they took control to take the lead with just seven minutes left.

On seven of the previous eight occasions they have come out on top in nail biters, but on this occasion, it was the Tigers who came with a try at the death to snatch the win.

Fly half Ash Smith has landed some great kicks this season, but in the mud of Manchester, he had an off day,missing with four pots at goal, as well as failing to find touch with three penalties.

Tynedale were again without injured skipper Matty Outson, and also absent was back row Nick Cairns.

The reverse fixture back in September saw Tynedale cruise to an emphatic 46-24 win, but the Tigers bared their claws right from the start on their own turf, ensuring that Tynedale barely touched the ball in the opening quarter in a nightmare opening period.

The Tigers roared into Tynedale from the whistle, taking the lead with only two minutes on the clock thanks to some straight running and quick handling. The try scorer was fly half Steve Collins, who not only converted his own score, but added a penalty for 10-0 with 22 minutes gone,

Smith missed a penalty for Tynedale on 24 minutes, before another Collins penalty extended the lead to 13-0.

At last Tynedale started to put together their usual combination of determined defence and swift counter attacks and this resulted in an unconverted try by flanker Ben Bell on 35 minutes. And the score remained 13-5 at half time.

The second half was an exciting close contest, with more good running rugby from both teams, and a fine effort from the Tynedale forwards who showed they have the technique and determination to match bigger opposition in scrums and to mount effective lineout catch and drive attacks,

It was the Tigers who scored first after the break, when a fine run by Andrew Riley put them within five metres of the line, eventually allowing Hallam Chapman to dot down three minutes in for 18-5. Then it was Tynedale’s turn to come into their own, with the free-scoring Guy Pike touching down on 46 minutes, before number eight Scott Powell followed suit six minutes later, following a Jonny Cousin charge down. Crucially, neither try was converted by the unfortunate Smith.

And with just seven minutes left, Tynedale went ahead for the first time when teenage prop Tristan Grant rounded off fine driving play by the forwards.

Full back James Spencer had now taken over kicking duties and landed Tynedale’s first successful kick to give them the lead by 22-18.

However, there was to be no happy ending for Tynedale as the Tigers regrouped, and carved out a three on two overlap which saw them snatch victory by a single point through a Jamie Harrison try.

Tigers provide the opposition for Tynedale again tomorrow, when they entertain Sheffield Tigers at Corbridge. The visitors are currently ninth in National League Division Two North, on 40 points and will be seeking revenge after losing to Tynedale 29-10.