Bramwell flies over to clinch dramatic victory
Published at 07:45, Wednesday, 27 February 2013
THE kick off at Corbridge was delayed for several minutes on Saturday to allow Tynedale winger Hamish Smales to shovel a large pile of doggy dos off the halfway line.
But there was no need for coprophobia from the Tynedale faithful, who were anticipating a bit of a hiding from Rosslyn Park.
After all, the Londoners had drubbed Tynedale 63-20 back in October, and were riding high in the league.
Add to that the fact that Tynedale’s inspirational coach Tom Borthwick was away in America with his prodigiously talented tennis playing daughter, and that Tynedale had a serious shortage of second rows, and the omens were not good.
But it turned out to be a case of muck for luck, as two attack minded sides served up a feast of attacking rugby, which brought 10 tries and thrills galore.
The lead changed hands half a dozen times in the most absorbing game seen at Corbridge in years, before Tynedale clinched victory with a spectacular injury time try.
When asked to name his man of the match, Tynedale’s chairman of senior rugby John Shotton said: “The entire team” after a performance of heroic proportions.
There were any number of contenders for individual laurels – Jonny Cousin for an all-action display, Alex Fieldhouse with two tries, Harry Peck for his speed of thought – but Shotton had it about right.
The Rosslyn Park pack were a formidable unit, centred on former Tynedale favourite lock Richard Boyle.
Tynedale had four regular seconds rows missing, and had to call on the inexperienced Richard Dunn, and Jonny Cousin, better known as a flanker.
It was no contest for much of the first half, as twice Tynedale were pushed off their own ball at set scrums, and struggled in the line out.
The arrival of young England star Scott Wilson in the front row redressed the balance in the second period.
And by the end , it was the towering Rosslyn Park forwards who had run out steam.
Tynedale welcomed back skipper Jack Harrison for the first time since springing a rib against Blaydon before Christmas.
Tynedale needed a good start, and they got it, with only 30 seconds on the clock.
Tynedale kicked off, and the ball was returned with interest to full back Chris Harris, just outside his own 22.
He launched a counter attack, and chipped over the onrushing defenders before gathering again and crossing the line.
Clearly aware of Tynedale’s kicking frailties, he faked the touchdown wide out, before running in behind the posts for the real thing, to give fly half Matty Outson the simplest of conversions.
They could have scored again soon after when Ben Frankland made a good run up the line to force a close range line-out.
Tynedale won the ball, but the opportunity was lost when they subsequently offended.
They did go 10-0 up on 14 minutes though, when Park failed to release the ball, and Outson obliged from the tee.
Park sloughed off their lethargy, and after destroying the Tynedale pack at a scrum,centre Stevie Parsons was able to cruise in for a try, which fly half Sam Katz converted for 10-7.
Tynedale came straight back and again Harris was involved.
He made good ground up the right before releasing the ball to hooker Dave Cherry, whose rapid flicked pass released Fieldhouse.
He still had a lot to do, but he timed his chip over the defence to perfection, running in a fine try.
Outson’s conversion attempt was nowhere near but Tynedale were 15-7 in front.
Again the Rosslyn Park mean machine ground into action, a flying wedge from a line-out scattering defenders like Aberdonians on a flag day as it ground remorselessly over the line, where flanker Luke Campbell claimed the touchdown.
Katz’s conversion attempt came back off the post to leave the score at 15-12 with just 21 minutes gone.
There was drama on the half hour, when Tynedale were attacking with pace and purpose – and Outson was poleaxed by a head-high tackle.
The referee’s whistled shrilled, not to award a penalty to Tynedale, but to give one to Rosslyn Park for crossing.
The outraged baying of the crowd persuaded the official to consult his touch judge, while Outson’s head was restored to working order.
After a lengthy wait, the referee reversed his decision, and Outson had recovered sufficiently well to stroke over the penalty to make it 18-12.
Surprisingly, Park escaped without a card of either colour.
Three minutes later, Fieldhouse plucked a Park pass out of the air, and galloped half the length of the field to touch down a classic interception try under the posts for Outson to take the score to 25-12.
The drama still wasn't over though, as Tynedale lost the ball in midfield, and Park attacked with power and purpose, creating a big overlap for Katz to slide in right in the corner.
The tee was placed nine inches in from touch, but the classy fly half converted his own try as effortlessly as if it had been straight in front.
A frenetic first half ended with Outson hitting a penalty well short to make the interval score 25-19 to Tynedale.
The rollercoaster ride continued at the start of the second half, and it was the Londoners who looked the more likely to win the day.
Tynedale made a complete mess of a 22 drop out two minutes in, and good recycling saw the league’s leading try scorer, Park number eight Hugo Ellis, bullocking over in the corner.
Katz’s fine conversion put the visitors ahead for the first time.
Good work on the left by the Park forwards allowed Ellis to cross again on 54 minutes, and although Park missed the kick, there was daylight between the sides at 31-26 to Park.
But Tynedale refused to lie down, and after his kick had been charged down, Smales gathered the ball again and squeezed over for the try which at least secured a bonus point.
George Cullen was now on for Outson, and his conversion appeared to many to be successful – but the touch judges ruled it had gone over the posts, not between them.
So Park led by a point, until Cullen induced delirium by smacking over a 40 metre penalty to give Tynedale a two-point advantage with 10 minutes left.
The packs had been pretty evenly matched in the second period, but in the final minute of normal time, the tiring Park produced one last perfect scrum.
They drew the foul out of Tynedale, and Katz struck what most assumed would be the winning penalty to make it 34-33 to the visitors.
However, Tynedale summoned one final effort, and attacked down the right.
Three minutes into stoppage time, replacement Tom Bramwell broke through two despairing tackled to swallow dive in for the winning try. Bedlam ensued, and no-one noticed that Cullen missed the conversion from directly in front of the posts.
There were fears of yet another turn-around, but at the first opportunity, Peck lashed the ball into touch for a victory that will live long in the memory.
Published by http://www.hexhamcourant.co.uk