MANY feared he had been fired when the name of Peter Southern appeared less and less frequently on the team sheet as Tynedale were among the pace-setters in National League Division Two North.

But with his 40th birthday just a few months away, “Bullet” proved he can still be a match winner in a thrilling game against South Leicester at Corbridge on Saturday.

Having appeared to be cruising to victory with a 45-14 lead after an hour, Tynedale were in great danger of throwing it away as the Midlanders staged a great fightback to reduce the gap to just 12 points.

But then came Bullet’s moment of glory, as he gathered the ball five metres out, and scuttled over as only he can, those spindly legs launching that gleaming pate into a spectacular swallow dive to ensure Tynedale secured maximum points.

The roar could have been heard back in Leicester as one of Tynedale’s favourite sons basked in the warm approbation of a delighted crowd.It was his 300th game at national level for Tynedale, and what a way it was to celebrate.

South Leicester were the first team to beat Tynedale this season back in October, and with the home side’s injury list mounting, there were fears that they just might do the double. There were one or two unfamiliar faces ion show, but newcomers Jake Rogers at full back, and re0lacement scrum half Jonny Burden, proved equal to the task, despite the game being played on a heavy pitch.

Free from Newcastle Falcons and England U20s commitments,hooker Jamie Blamire showed wheat a good player he is, with two fine tries in a commanding performance, and the flaring pace of winger Oli Walker brought him a richly deserved hat-trick.

Tynedale started very brightly and could have gone ahead after three minutes, only for fly half Ash Smith’s penalty attempt to flick the top of the left hand post and go wide.

It was only a matter of time though, and powerful running from Blamire saw him touch down the opening try on 16 minutes, Smith converting.

However, a loose Tynedale pass almost straight from the restart was plucked out of the air by South’s talented fly half Rickie Aley,who raced away to touch down under the posts, converting his own try.

Tynedale soon had their noses in front again though, with a spectacular move started in their own 22 by Will Miller, continued by Smith and finished by Walker for Smith to again convert.

Blamire forced his way for the third try on 33 minutes, Smith again converting, and the bonus point was in the bag on 30 minutes, when a quickly taken penalty resulted in Tom Bramwell darting in for 26-7

Tynedale lost concentration from the restart failing to deal with a chip ahead, from which winger Myles Bean stormed over from the halfway line to make it 26-14 at the break.

It was business as usual at the start of the second half, as James Spencer and young Rodger combined well to set up Walker’s second three minutes in, and four minutes later, quick thinking by Jack Outson took advantage of a slip by South from a line out on their own line, and the scrum half twisted over from close range.Smith converting superbly from the touchline for 36-14.

It seemed all over when a Walker interception on halfway took Tynedale into a commanding 45-14 lead, but South refused to lie down

Some indifferent tackling allowed centre Javiah Pohe to blast over in 63 minutes, and with the South pack starting to take control the referee awarded a penalty try after consistent pressure on the Tynesdale line,

Palpitations began to occur when Bean slid in for his second try with five minutes left, making it 45-33, but then came Southern comfort, as “Bullet” hit the target with the winning try.