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Friday, 25 July 2014

Perfect finish as Cole enjoys his swan song

Tynedale 42, Fylde 10

SIX weeks of woe came to an end on Saturday when Tynedale finally stormed to an eight try victory over Fylde.

The waves of relief could probably have been felt as far as Lytham St Annes, as Tynedale secured maximum points for the first time since September.

It mattered not that they were playing a patched up Fylde side whose injury problems were even worse than their own.

The Lancastrians were so hard-pressed they had to go cloth cap in hand to Leeds Carnegie to borrow a couple of players, and prevented another from going on loan to another club.

Rumour had it that some of the forwards were only introduced to each other on the team bus, and had to practise line-out calls and routines in the motorway services on the M6.

Be that as it may, it was still a good performance from Tynedale, even though the final scoreline should have been considerably higher.

Of those eight tries only one was converted, as after kicking exceptionally well the previous week, Matty Outson turned Helen Flanagan.

He sprayed the ball everywhere but between the posts, and when he failed to find touch from a hard won penalty, Fylde scored a try from the counter attack.

It wasn’t until his eighth bushtucker trial he landed the conversion, which was greeted with near hysterical acclaim despite the fact Geoff Boycott’s Granny could have knocked it over with a stick of rhubarb.

Despite his kicking horror comic, Outson didn’t have a bad game, putting in some bone-jarring tackles and linking the line well.

Man of the match was full back Chris Harris, back from injury, who cut a dash with a fine try, as well as producing an awesome try-saving tackle.

Even when he picked up a nasty ankle injury late on, he kept battling on.

There was also an excellent performance from Stuart Johnson, who has had his injury problems in the past, but is now enjoying an extended spell of first team action.

And there was a fairy tale ending to the Tynedale career of winger Peter Cole, who is off to seek his fortune in London.

The obsidian dagger has pierced defences the length of the country and signed off with yet another try, to show the Tynedale faithful just what they will be missing.

The Tynedale line out creaked at times, but was much better than of late, and the forwards took full advantage of Fylde’s frailties and unfamiliarity up front.

The television international against Australia, and the fact Newcastle United were playing at home may have contributed to a sparse crowd – although the fact that the last home games have ended in defeat will not have encouraged a man with £10 to invest to part with his lucre.

But it was a fine dry day with conditions perfect for running rugby.

Tynedale seemed coldly purposeful, like Helen Flanagan before her 12-meal bushtucker trial – and it worked.

A solid touch from Outson from a penalty earned a lineout, five metres out, and the catch and drive ended with number eight Ollie Stedman getting the try wide out with four minutes gone.

The kick was short, but it didn’t seem to matter, for on 18 minutes, skipper Jack Harrison produced a devastating side-step to release Stedman, who tossed out a cheeky overhead pass to launch Cole for his swan song score.

Outson missed the conversion, and was also wide with a penalty, before a scuttle up the line by young England prop Scott Wilson sent Chris Harris in for the third try – which again went unconverted.

Already trailing 15-0, Fylde decided attack was the best form of defence, and started to exert pressure on the Tynedale line.

Tynedale resisted stoutly, and appeared to have weathered the storm when after five minutes under the cosh, they were awarded a clearing penalty.

Outson thumped it in the general direction of the stand, but the ball failed to find touch, and Fylde counter-attacked with deadly efficiency.

The ball found its way to the lightning quick Olly Brennand, who streaked in close to the posts for fly half Chris Johnson to convert – and the score was 15-7.

Straight from the restart, Fylde were penalised for failing to release in front of the posts, and even Outson couldn’t miss the easy penalty.

This time, it was Tynedale’s turn to offend from the restart, and scrum half Harry Peck’s transgression was severe enough to earn him a yellow card.

Johnson put over the penalty to make it 18-10 at half time.

The second half began with the unlikely figure of Stedman filling the scrum half berth, and it was Fylde who were on top for the next 15 minutes.

They should have scored when Tynedale lost possession in midfield, Fylde centre Scott Barrow was galloping for the line like a Blackpool donkey on steroids.

However Harris streaked across the field, and hailed him down inches from the line with a superb cover tackle.

The Tynedale defence cracked again under sustained pressure, and prop Ben Harris touched down under the sticks – but referee Andrew Jackson ruled the pass to be forward.

After that, Fylde’s challenge petered out, as Tynedale suddenly rediscovered the way to the try line.

From a line out on 67 minutes, replacement flanker Sam Reynolds wormed his way over, and two minutes later, Stuart Johnson repeated the dose from another line-out.

On 34 minutes, yet another forward drive brought Reynolds his second try, and Tynedale were 33-10 to the good.

With a minute of normal time left, Hamish Smales showed the benefit of chasing a kick ahead, causing such confusion ion the Fylde defence that replacement prop Dave Dickinson was able to stroll in for try number seven.

The game was over for Fylde’s Scott Barrow at this stage, as he was yellow carded, but Tynedale were not quite finished.

Ben Frankland picked up and danced his way over close to the posts, and the crowd held its breath as Outson put the ball on the tee.

He slotted it perfectly to the most rapturous applause of the day.

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