Saxons slain – but what does the future hold?
Published at 09:12, Monday, 07 May 2012
TYNEDALE rounded off their season with what was only their fourth away win at already relegated Stourbridge Saxons on Saturday.
Stourbridge 14, Tynedale 22.
The victory propelled them a couple of places up the National Division One table – but they still finished in a worst ever position of 11th.
And with the three sides coming into the division next season all expected to be particularly strong, Tynedale could face an even tougher time next season.
As well as Stourbridge, Barking and Birmingham and Solihull were relegated, and Jersey were promoted.
Esher will drop down from the championship, and the promoted sides already confirmed are Loughborough Students from North One, and Old Albanians from South One.
The line-up will be completed by the winners of the play off between the runners-up in the respective leagues, Caldy and Richmond.
And Tynedale will kick off the new season without one of their star man from this season, number eight Sam Shires.
The back rower is moving to London, and to mark his great contribution to the Tynedale, he was made captain for the day in the Black Country.
The hero of Tynedale’s win over Wharfedale, Joel Hodgson, was unavailable, so the ever versatile Matty Outson took over at fly half, and acquitted himself well.
The absence of Richard Miller also meant there was a rare opportunity for the Dunn brothers, Graeme and Richard, to pack down together in the second row.
Stuart Johnson also came into the back row, where he produced a man of the match performance.
Pushing him close though was centre Chris Harris, who helped himself to two tries to end the season as joint top try scorer with Alan Rogers, with ten apiece.
Having already waved goodbye to the league, the Saxons had nothing to lose, and were looking for a third successive home win, as well as seeking revenge for defeat at Corbridge in the opening game of the season.
It was a bitterly cold day in the Black Country, with a spiteful wind blowing diagonally across the pitch.
Stourbridge kicked off, but Tynedale failed to gather the ball, and spent the next 10 minutes desperately defending their line.
The home side pushed and probed, and recycled the ball times without number, but the Tynedale defence proved equal to the task of keeping them out.
A scrum finally relieved the pressure, and within minutes, Tynedale were hammering away at the other end of the field.
With 20 minutes gone, Tynedale stole possession at a Saxons line-out, and cranked the pressure up even more.
Finally, winger Matty Horrocks found the space to wriggle into the 22, and dart in to score his fifth try of the season under the posts.
Outson landed the simple conversion to make it 7-0.
Stourbridge came back well, inspired by right winger Matthew Williams, who was a complete bundle of energy.
On 36 minutes, from a line-out, he took advantage of some half-hearted tackling to jink and dance his way from the Tynedale 10 metre line to just short of the line.
When he was finally halted, he managed to slip the ball to flanker Alex Rovira, who battered his way over for the try.
Full-back James Hearn converted to bring the scores level.
However, Tynedale’s first half work was not done. Leading try scorer Alan Rogers made a good break on 39 minutes before releasing the ball for Chris Harris to muscle his way over.
Outson had picked up a slight groin strain, so handed the kicking duties to Harry Mountain – but his well struck effort grazed the wrong side of the post.
Nevertheless, Tynedale led 12-7 at half time.
And three minutes into the second half they were further ahead, thanks to a trademark lightning break from a penalty by scrum half Harry Peck.
The blond with lots of bottle stormed into the 22, where Harris took over, blasting in for his second try. Again Mountain’s conversion attempt grazed the post, but there was daylight between the sides at 17-7.
Three minutes later, it went dark again, when more weak tackling allowed centre Ben Barkley acres of space to threaten the line.
Having done the hard work, he slipped the ball to hooker Liam Wordley, lurking on his shoulder, and the number two romped over for a try which Hearn converted.
Tynedale tried to bounced back from a scrum inside the Stourbridge 22, but were thwarted by a forward pass.
Both sides were starting to make errors as the biting wind chilled fingers and made handling difficult.
Hamish Smales made a typically scorching break from full back into the Saxons 22, but was well tackled.
Tynedale had the edge though, spending most of the time in the Stourbridge 10 metre area. And with a minute left, they clinched a bonus point when replacement prop Alex Westgarth picked up and bulldozed his way over for the fourth try.
Mountain’s conversion attempt drifted off in the wind, as did Stourbridge’s hopes of a losing bonus point.
Published by http://www.hexhamcourant.co.uk