Tyne miss out to late penalty try
Published at 09:12, Monday, 16 April 2012
Coventry 25, Tynedale 24.
TYNEDALE’S season slumped from bad to worse on Saturday when they crashed to their seventh successive defeat.
What’s more, they couldn’t even muster a full squad for the rearranged trip to Coventry.
Ravaged by injury and unavailability on what was scheduled as a rest day at the start of the season, they could only field three replacements – none of them backs.
Six first choice backs were injured, along with five forwards, and the height of the lambing season meant that four farmers also had prior appointments with yows’ back ends.
Add to that the fact that three players were at weddings arranged long before the match was rescheduled, and you get the flavour of Tynedale’s predicament.
The side they were able to field contained one or two players who were not household names even in their own homes, and it’s all credit to them that the game was as close as it was.
The patched-up side all but wiped out the horrors of the 64-0 home defeat by Jersey the previous week with a brave performance which almost snatched a surprise win.
Tynedale had three players yellow carded, and conceded a late penalty try, but still played well enough to come home with a welcome losing bonus point.
Jonny Mock made his first first team appearance for many years on the wing, with Will Massey slotting in at fly half.
Other unfamiliar faces were Richard Dunn in the back row, and Adam Telfer and David Batey on the bench.
Coventry had their problems too, losing prolific points scorer Ben Russell with a cut head after only three minutes.
And Tynedale made an excellent start, taking the lead on 11 minutes with a fine opportunist try.
Centre Harry Mountain pulled off a neat interception on halfway, and slipped the ball across to fellow centre Chris Harris, who romped in under the sticks from the 22 metre line.
Massey converted, and could have extended the lead five minutes later with a penalty, but it drifted to the left of the posts.
Coventry got back on terms on 19 minutes, thanks to a fine piece of individual brilliance by Heath Stephens.
He gathered the ball on the Tynedale 10 metre line, and embarked on a weaving run, cutting inside the last man to touch down under the posts.
The conversion was added by Mike Gillick to bring the scores level.
The Coventry pack was now starting to take control, and they were over the line on 26 minutes but unable to ground the ball.
That led to a series of penalty scrums, at which Tynedale offended repeatedly.
A less tolerant referee might have awarded a penalty try there and then, but he kept his powder dry, and Tynedale were eventually able to clear.
After 33 minutes though, the official’s patience did run out, and he showed a yellow card to Tynedale lock Graeme Dunn for a technical offence.
The resultant penalty seemed straightforward enough but replacement stand off Jack Green put it wide.
Tynedale came back well, when a penalty was kicked to touch, and Tynedale duly won the line-out.
They recycled the ball four times, but the move ended with a knock-on 15 metres from the line.
Just before the interval, Coventry lost prop Ethan Waller to the sin bin for 10 minutes, but the sides remained locked at 7-7 at the break.
Tynedale got their noses in front again a minute into the second half, when Coventry came in from the side at a maul, and Massey slotted the resultant penalty.
The lead was only brief though, with Green replying from the tee for Coventry just three minutes later.
Shortly afterwards, there was a combined rush of blood to the knuckles on halfway, with a minor brawl breaking out.
When the dust settled, Tynedale lock Richard Miller and Coventry’s Adam Parkins were both despatched to the sin bin to cool off for 10 minutes.
Sadly. the ref had got the wrong man; the offending punches are understood to have emanated from the Tynedale front row.
Tynedale were judged to have lit the blue touchpaper for the fireworks, and the penalty was converted by Green to put Coventry ahead for the first time.
Tynedale rallied well, and good work by flanker Sam Shires saw Harry Peck held just short of the line.
Tynedale maintained the pressure, and Shires himself was held up just over the line.
Then the cuboid Alex Westgarth, on as a replacement for the injured David Dickinson, was somehow subjected to a high tackle – quite an achievement on someone with such a low centre of gravity.
The penalty was taken quickly, and there was Hamish Smales darting in for a great try, which Massey improved.
And on 21 minutes, Tynedale’s work on the training ground paid off when they won a line-out.
At a pre-arranged signal, the line-out parted like the Red Sea, and Harry “Moses” Peck darted through to score another converted try to give Tynedale a 24-13 lead.
Coventry regrouped, and after finding touch with a penalty, a well-executed catch and drive brought a try for Brett Daynes.
The conversion failed, but Coventry now had their tails up, and dominated the remainder of the game.
Tynedale conceded penalties without number, and Peck became Tynedale’s third player in the sin bin as the pressure told.
Still Tynedale offended out of desperation, until with two minutes left, a penalty try was awarded.
With the benefit of hindsight, Tynedale acknowledged afterwards that they should perhaps have kept things legal, and allowed the Coventry pack to go over wide out as they were determined to do.
Had that happened, Green, who was not a first choice kicker, would have a far more difficult job in landing the conversion from close to the touchline.
As it was, the winning kick was bang in front of the posts and he had no problems with it.
There were a number of contenders for the man of the match award, among them Harry Peck and hooker George McGuigan.
However, the nod went to Richard Dunn for a sterling showing in the back row.
Published by http://www.hexhamcourant.co.uk