IT was a grim start to the new year for Tynedale, when they surrendered a 17-12 half-time lead to crash to only their third defeat of the season at Huddersfield on Saturday,

And with all the other promotion contenders winning handsomely, Tynedale slipped to fifth place in the league, 11 points behind leaders Hinckley.

They do have two games in hand on the Leicester side, but with talismanic skipper Matty Outson sidelined with a knee injury until at least next month, they will have to work extra hard to make up ground.

In the absence of Outson following his injury in the pre-Christmas win over Blaydon, Dan Taylor moved to scrum half, with Ash Smith donning the number 10 shirt.

A see-saw match started badly for Tynedale, as centre Will Miller was shown a yellow card in the opening seconds, for taking an opponent out in the air straight from the kick off.

And with fellow centre Tom Bramwell also sin-binned later in the half, Tynedale had two players out for the second game in succession.

Tynedale seemed to have survived the early loss of Miller, who was on the touchline waiting to come back on when Huddersfield lock Austen Thompson forced his way over from a five metre line out, Harry, Davey’s excellent conversion giving the hosts a seven-point advantage.

Restored to full strength, Tynedale came into the game, and got off the mark with a Smith penalty from long range.

While the Yorkshire’s forwards dominated up front, Tynedale were always dangerous on the counter attack, and the ever reliable flanker Nick Cairns powered through for Tynedale’s first try, converted by Smith.

And Tynedale extended their lead when Miller made amends for his yellow card by blasting through several tackles to touch down, Smith’s conversion giving Tynedale a 17-7 lead

Then came Tynedale’s second yellow card on 28 minutes, with Bramwell adjudged to have committed a dangerous tackle, and from the penalty line out, Huddersfield hooker Francis Entressengle and Nick Sharpe forced their way over.

With half time approaching Field spurned a good chance to go into the break ahead. A line clearance was neatly pouched and passed inside by Elliot Knight on the right wing and Tynedale were penalised when the ball was run at them by man of the match Lewis Bradley.

A quick tap down from the consequent line out was taken by centre Tom Owen but he lost control of the ball in the tackle in his dive for the line and the sides turned round with Tynedale still leading 17-12.

In the second half Field made more use of their big forwards to dominate scrums and to make gains by keeping it close with strong carries. Their defensive tackling also improved, and the Tynedale backs found themselves unable to make the breaks they had done in the first half. Although the forwards fought hard throughout, and the scrums did much better after fresh replacements off the bench in Jamie Blamire, Ben Wilkinson and Max Davies, they were unable to earn sufficient possession to turn the tide.

Huddersfield were back on terms five minutes after the interval. A Tynedale scrum five metres out was in disarray allowing Huddersfield to take the ball against the head and Sharpe went over for his second try. Davey’s conversion put them in front once again.

Although Huddersfield continued to dominate, Tynedale were still striving to run the ball from the scraps of possession they gained. And the game still hung in the balance on the hour, when full back James Spencer took a neat pass and took a beautiful inside 30 metre running line. Huddersfield were penalised and Smith took the points to ease Tynedale back in front at 20-19.

The last 10 minutes belonged to Huddersfield though and they rounded off the match with two more fine tries. Davey scored the first, taking an offload from Sharpe near the line following a good break behind another powerful scrum and with time almost up Workman had the final word.

With Tyne penalised at the scrum once again Davey used the advantage to craft a perfect cross-field kick and a kind bounce saw Workman rolling out of a tackle for the touchdown.

It was only the second time all season that Tynedale have ended a game pointless, and they will be looking to make up ground tomorrow when they entertain Leicester Lions at Tynedale Park.

Tynedale won the away game 28-26, so the visitors will be thirsting for revenge.The Lions are currently eighth on 40 points and their away record is not bad, with four wins, a draw and only three defeats which include losses against pacesetters Sale and Hinckley.