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Friday, 22 May 2015

Tynedale aim to conquer league leaders

WITH a tough run of games coming up in the coming weeks, Tynedale still have it all to do if they are to beat the drop in National League One.

While they were without a game at the weekend owing to Loughborough Students’ pitch being waterlogged, they watched two relegation rivals pick up vital victories to move them away from the struggling pack.

Blackheath went six points clear following their 24-6 win over Coventry, while Richmond are one point better off after picking up five in their 31-26 triumph away to Blaydon.

But Tynedale remain within touching distance of the teams just above the drop zone, though, as both Worthing Raiders and Henley Hawks were further sucked into the dog fight.

Worthing, who have 43 points to Tynedale’s 39, were scoreless as they were thumped 44-0 at home to second placed Rosslyn Park.

Meanwhile, Henley remain just two points above Tyne as they were beaten 36-10 by Championship-bound Doncaster Knights, Tynedale’s opponents tomorrow.

While the result would have pleased the Corbridge faithful, it would also have struck fear into them as they prepare to host the team at the top.

Doncaster, boasting a fully-professional 30-man squad, overturned a 10-7 deficit at the break to come away with maximum points.

They were ruthless after the break, scoring 29 unanswered points, which included five tries, to maintain their 100 per cent record at home.

Among the 12 wins in 12 fixtures at Castle Park included the nine-try, 55-3 demolition of Tynedale back in November.

Yet the home team will be only too well aware that Doncaster have not had it all their way on their travels, losing four times – at Blaydon, Fylde, Henley and Wharfedale – in their 10 games.

If Tyne can reproduce the barnstorming performance last time out when they picked up five points in the 26-7 home win over Fylde, they know they stand a chance of causing a big stir.

They line up against the league's top try scorers, as 65 scores at home and 35 away puts them well on top with 100. This is largely down to winger Tyson Lewis (18) and centre Mat Clark (16) who lead the way in the league’s individual scoring charts.

They are just as strong defensively and have conceded only 40 tries, an equal split between home and away.

Continuing the theme of leading the way, the Knights have one of the worst disciplinary records in the league, too, with three reds and 18 yellows to their names.

Doncaster are expected to have props Riccardo Brugnara and Tiziano Pasquali, both who are currently on loan from Leicester Tigers, in their 20-man squad.

Following tomorrow’s match-up, which is expected to be Tynedale Park’s largest crowd of the season due to Doncaster’s famous large following, the rescheduled trip to Loughborough is on the cards.

A difficult run of games follows as they face teams all within the top six in quick succession, starting March with a home game with Esher and then travelling to Rosslyn Park and hosting Coventry.

If they get through that tough spell relatively unscathed, their run-in sees them take on four teams fighting for their survival in the shape of Hull Ionians (a), Cinderford (h), Richmond (a) and Henley (h).

Tomorrow’s game with Doncaster kicks off at 2.15pm.