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Thursday, 28 May 2015

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Tynedale continue fine form

TYNEDALE'S remarkable transformation since the turn of the year continued on Saturday when they claimed their first ever win over Esher


Watched by the Czech Republic youth team and the ever-affable Esher alickadoo John Inverdale of the BBC, Tynedale recorded their sixth win in eight games since the pre-Christmas embarrassment at the hands of Blaydon and having seemed odds-on to go down in December they have now given themselves at least a chance of survival.

The two teams have met five times before, and each time, the honours have gone to the London side. They lay fifth in the table before kick off, and in the absence of Tynedale's talismanic hero the hirsute Hamish Smales, the visitors started as favourites on a sunny spring day with, for once, no wind. And they should have scored after six minutes, when some slick handling send full back Anders Mogensen galloping for the line unopposed - but the referee had spotted a marginal forward pass.

So it was Tynedale who opened the scoring on 11 minutes, when from a scrummaging offence, Gavin Beasley - who had a fine game - drilled the penalty to within five metres of the line. The ball was thrown to the front, and Tynedale's forwards battered their way over, with centre Ben Frankland yet again joining the pack to touch down.

Beasley screwed the conversion wide, but Tynedale were so confident of their pack's prowess that when they were awarded a penalty in front of the sticks, they opted for a penalty scrum instead. The ball was duly won and spun wide, but incredibly, winger Sep Visser dropped the ball as he was crossing the line.

Another chance went begging soon afterwards, when more slick handling saw the Dutch winger bundled into touch just short of the line. Dan Rundle is one of the quickest players at at the club, but even he was not quite quick enough to pounce on a deft grubber kick from Matty Outson on 26 minutes.

Esher proved themselves an adventurous outfit, running a penalty from the own line, and Tynedale did well to keep them out. Towards the end of the half, a kick through by Esher looked very dangerous, and full back Craig WIllis did well to keep them out at the expense of a five metre scrum. Tynedale finally extended their lead with a Beasley penalty to make it 8-0 at the interval - the consensus was it should have been more.

Alarm bells rang at the start of the second half when a grubber kick from a 22 drop out produced some dazzling 15-man rugby from the visitors, when the ball was recycled more than a dozen times before prop Stewart Maguire bulled his way over. The kick failed so the score stood at 8-5.

Tynedale had seen little of the ball, but a superb clearance from Willis finally relieved the pressure 10 minutes in. Tynedale stole the ball from the line out, and solid handling saw the ball played back out wide for Sep Visser to score an unconverted try for 13-5.

Tynedale continued to dominate, but Esher were dangerous on the break and it wasn't until the 70th minute that following more forward pressure, Beasley dropped a shoulder to wrong foot the defence and glide in for a rare try which he converted himself.

The highlight of the game came with two minutes left, when a Tynedale forward drive seemed tp be losing momentum, until virtually every member of the team had piled in to send the scrum over the line for the inevitable Frankland to claim the try and a vital bonus point Beasley added the extras, to ensure Tynedale's fight for survival goes on.