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Sunday, 24 May 2015

Tynedale earn bonus from more capital punishment

WINS in London are in shorter supply than Helen Flanagan bushtucker trial successes for Tynedale this season.

Hamish Smales grapples for the ball in a sea of mud during Saturday’s game at Blackheath.

Saturday’s trip to the Smoke was no exception, with Tynedale again on the wrong side of a 21-14 scoreline.

But they gave a good account of themselves, in keeping with their improved form in their last few matches.

Blackheath have a reputation for implacable and unremitting forward pressure, with the backs only there to make up the numbers.

And given the fact that Saturday’s game was played in continuous steady rain, there was no chance that the game was going to be anything other than a forward slog.

Tynedale were without coach Tom Borthwick, who was at a family wedding, so the squad was in the tender care of forwards supremo and video expert Tom Bramald, advised an encouraged by Bullet himself, Peter Southern.

But if Blackheath expected an easy afternoon at the Rectory Field from the country bumpkins, they were in for a rude awakening.

For the Tynedale pack tore into them from the start, giving as good as they got, and they were confident enough in their own ability to eschew kickable penalties in favour of penalty scrums.

The front row of Alex Westgarth, George McGuigan and Scott Wilson were outstanding, and once the two props had done their stint, Andrew Harrison and David Dickinson were more than able replacements.

Hats off too to fly half Matty Outson, who converted both Tynedale tries with some aplomb.

On the rare occasions the ball came out of the pack, Tynedale were ready for it, with another man of the match performance from full back Chris Harris.

Peter Moralee came in on the wing to fill the boots of Peter Cole, but was given little chance to demonstrate the fact that he is possibly the fastest runner at the club.

Tynedale started in confident mood, making light of the incessant downpour to force a string of early penalties.

Tynedale bossed the scrummages, wringing penalty after penalty from their hosts in the red zone, and a less lenient referee might have waved a yellow card or two.

After 10 minutes of pressure, Blackheath finally cracked, and number eight Ollie Stedman crashed over from yet another penalty scrum

It was quite a way out from the posts, so Matty Outson’s conversion came as a nice surprise.

Blackheath had gone three games without a win, plummeting down the table, so the score gave faint flutters of a rare success Down South.

However, Blackheath regrouped, and started to come into the game, although the encounter was 25 minutes old before they made any serious incursion into the Tynedale 22.

A penalty was kicked to touch, and from the line-out, the ball was moved infield for fly-half David Dunne to find centre Dave Bonner, who went in under the posts.

Dunne’s conversion brought the scores level with 25 minutes gone.

The Blackheath forwards continued to impress, but it was a quickly taken free kick by scrum half Jack Walsh which led to Blackheath going in front on 33 minutes.

The ball was spun left, and a ruck on the Tynedale line saw lock Gethin Davies power over for another converted try. The score remained 14-7 at half time.

The second half began with Blackheath edging things, but the greasy ball and appalling conditions meant that Tynedale were always in with a shout.

They had a let-off on six minutes when they were penalised for coming in at the side, but Dunne’s penalty slapped off the crossbar, and Tynedale were able to clear.

Two minutes later, another penalty to touch saw Blackheath win the line out, but when they spread the ball wide, they knocked on.

Blackheath managed to get over the line again on 11 minutes, but heroic Tynedale defence prevented them from grounding the ball.

Tynedale had their moments too, with Outson scraping the post with a penalty 15 minutes into the half.

The balance finally tilted Blackheath’s way on 70 minutes, when Tynedale hooker George McGuigan was yellow carded for being offside.

The resulting penalty was kicked the usual five metres from the line, and depleted Tynedale were unable to resist the catch and drive from the line-out.

Flanker Dave Allen was credited with the try, and Dunne added the conversion to take the score to 21-7.

Tynedale kept beavering away, and a yellow card was issued to a Blackheath player unidentifiable beneath his crust of mud.

Tynedale stepped up a gear, and right at the end of normal time, replacement flanker Sam Reynolds touched down for Tynedale’s second try.

Tynedale needed Outson’s conversion to go over to claim a losing bonus point, and sure enough, the fly half obliged with a peach of a kick. It was Tynedale’s 11th bonus point of the season – only leaders Ealing Trailfinders have more.