DESPITE racking up their 20th win of the season on a wet pitch, Tynedale’s hopes of a play-off place faded slightly on Saturday.

For they failed to claim a bonus point against bottom club Luctonians, while play off rivals Sedgley Park were claiming a maximum at home to Huddersfield.

And although Tynedale have a game in hand on the Manchester club, they trail them by nine points, with just four games remaining - three of them away from home.

It was not a game which will live long in the memory, with the conditions meaning Tynedale struggled to play their usual running game to any great effect.

Home supporters were again frustrated by the amount of possession that Tynedale kicked away, particularly in the first half, but there were again flashes of class all over the field, with winger Oli Walker catching the eye in particular.

With skipper Matty Outson again out with injury, David Cook took the number nine shirt, and gave another assured performance.

He was paired at fly half by Jake Rodgers, who started well enough, but was forced off after 26 minutes with what looked a nasty injury to his thumb. He was replaced by burly newcomer Ben Hutton, who gave a polished performance,

Regular full back James Spencer was away on a skiing holiday, but after a couple of weeks out, Ash Smith returned to the full back berth, and made his usual sound contribution.

Tynedale made a slow start, with the Hereford side pinning them back in their own 22 for the opening period.

The visitors spurned two pots at goal to go for touch, and were rewarded when hooker Jordan Page got the touchdown to a compelling catch and drive from a line out on four minutes.

A blistering run from winger Guy Pike seemed to wake Tynedale up, and they got off the mark on 18 minutes with a Rodgers penalty, before Smith put them ahead from the tee with 29 minutes gone.

But Luctonians came roaring back, a good period of pressure bringing a try for fly half Tom Jones, with scrum half Sam Boxhall adding the conversion just before the break.

Deep into first half injury time, Smith added his second penalty to make it 12-9 to the visitors at half time.

Tynedale started the second half with added pace and purpose, and three minutes in, a good period of pressure saw flanker Joe Mills squeeze over in the corner.

The pressure told on Lucs, and on 55 minutes, they were down to 14 men when prop Joe White was sin-binned. Tynedale used their extra man to good effect, with the excellent Scott Powell getting the touch to a pushover try, converted by Smith for 21-12 with 57 minutes gone.

Five minutes later, more good work by forwards and backs saw Tom Bramwell dive into a pile of bodies to get the third try, again improved by Smith.

Thereafter, the game became even more scrappy with with replacement Guy Kirkby picking up the visitors second yellow card for foul play, but Tynedale were unable to add to their score.