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Saturday, 23 May 2015

Cambridge match likely to go back to March

AFTER the trip to Cinderford was snowed off at the weekend, only a supreme optimist would hold out any hope of rugby action at Corbridge tomorrow.

Ollie Stedman

Although the surface of the pitch is perfectly playable, it is under under several inches of snow – and more is forecast for today.

Even if there is a thaw, it would be asking too much of even the legendary draining properties of the Tynedale Park pitch to cope with thousands of gallons of melted snow.

And that’s a great pity, for Tynedale’s scheduled opponents are bottom club Cambridge, who shipped more than 100 points in their lastfixture.

Cambridge are odds-on favourites for relegation and are currently 23 points from safety.

They have lost 11 of their last 12 games, and it really sticks in Tynedale’s craw that Tom Borthwick’s men are one of only three teams Cambridge have beaten all season.

The solitary bright spot in the last three and a half months was a 52-17 home win over fellow strugglers Sedgley Park on December 8, having trailed 17-11 at half-time.

The gloss was taken off that success though, when they were deducted five points for that victory as a result of playing an ineligible player.

The nadir came in their last game though, when they conceded 16 tries in a record-breaking 104-5 defeat at Rosslyn Park.

To add insult to injury, they have also been fined £50 for failing to provide their opponents, Coventry with a match DVD following their game on January 5.

Not surprisingly, they have the worst defence in the league, conceding 103 tries (42 home and 61 away) and have only scored 48 tries (32 home and 16 away).

The loss on October 6 was the first of six successive defeats for Tynedale, which took them to the fringes of the relegation zone.

They lost 22-20 to a last minute penalty, and have been thirsting for revenge ever since.

After a dreadful spell in mid season, Tynedale have played some good rugby in recent weeks, running league leaders Ealing Trailfinders and high flying Esher very close.

They have found a free scoring winger in Peter Moralee, who has crossed the whitewash a dozen times already this season, and although it’s early days, they seem to have solved their goalkicking problems.

Tynedale have lost innumerable games this season, by a handful of points, games which could have been turned into victories if they had landed just a few kicks.

They converted less than half the tries they scored, which simply isn’t good enough at this level.

However, they gave number eight Ollie Stedman a chance with the boot in the last home game, and he kicked exceptionally well.

Tynedale have already secured more bonus points than any other team in the league, and as the second half of the season gets under way, hopes are high that some of the disappointing losses could be reversed in the return games.

Tynedale's match at Cinderford has already been rearranged for Saturday February 9, with the next free Saturday for Tynedale and Cambridge likely to be March 16.