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Friday, 29 May 2015

Tynedale’s revival gathers steam with away triumph

THE Tynedale survival bandwagon picked up more momentum on Saturday with a first away win in 12 months.

Sep Visser stretches over the line near the corner flag to score the bonus point try for Tynedale at Wharfedale on Saturday.

Few expected much from the trip to Wharfedale, who have been bubbling along happily in the top half of the table since thrashing Tynedale at home in September.

But buoyed by the win against Old Albanians, Tynedale claimed maximum points for the second week running.

And it was no fluke, for even grudging the Yorkshire faithful were lavish in their after-match praise for the visitors.

They were heard to remark: “Tynedale were excellent in almost everything they did, while Wharfedale were second best in every department; Tynedale just blew us away to be deserved and worthy winners.”

It was the first time they had won two consecutive matches since March last year, and their first win on the road following 16 successive defeats.

The last away win came on January 5, 2012, against Sedgley Park, who were relegated at the end of the season.

Tynedale are still next to bottom of National League Division One, but the gap to safety is now only four points – with a ten-pointer at home to fellow strugglers Blackheath tomorrow.

Tynedale went into the game knowing they were likely to be without influential skipper Jack Harrison for the rest of the season, after his long-standing arm injury flared up against Old Albanians.

He has had yet another scan on the injured limb, but the prospects are not good for the unlucky centre.

Also missing with injuries were versatile scrum half Matty Outson and ex Premiership lock Andy Buist, while the hero of the win against Old Albanians, two-try prop Matty Shields, was recalled by Plymouth Albion.

However, there was a debut for New Zealand born centre Danny Barnes, the ex-Munster player on dual registration with Newcastle Falcons.

However, it was another stirring performance from the pack which secured the victory as they controlled the forward battle throughout.

Tynedale kicked off on a sunny day with a slight breeze at their backs, but it was Wharfedale who were first to score when deadly fly half Tom Barrett landed a penalty after just two minutes after Tynedale had gone over the top at a ruck.

Tynedale had a early chance to equalise two minutes later when the Yorkshiremen were penalised for not releasing, but fly half Gavin Beasley’s long range penalty attempt came back off the post.

There was no stopping them on seven minutes though, when Beasley kicked another penalty to touch, and from the line-out catch and drive, centre Ben Frankland was credited with the touchdown.

Beasley’s kick was unsuccessful, but Tynedale had their noses in front at 5-3.

As the Yorkshiremen struggled to find their rhythm, Tynedale pressed home their advantage, and the man with the weird beard, Hamish Smales, jinked his way in for Tynedale’s second try on 18 minutes.

Beasley’s conversion made it 12-3.

Three minutes later, Tynedale were over again, when a knifing run by scrum half Greg Illingworth sliced open the Wharfedale defence, and number eight Matt Charters took the scoring pass.

Beasley’s kick was accurate, to take the score to 19-3 with 21 minutes gone, and on 24 minutes, the fly half slotted a penalty to take it to 22-3.

Shell-shocked Wharfedale finally got their side of the scoreboard moving with a Barrett penalty on 24 minutes.

The normally reliable kicker missed two more relatively straightforward kicks in the closing stages of the half to leave the score at 22-6 at half time.

Barrett was successful from the tee seven minutes into the second half, but on 13 minutes, Tynedale got a rare away bonus point when winger Sep Visser scampered over wide out.

Beasley missed the kick, but Tynedale were back in control at 27-9.

Andrew Murray replaced Jonny Cousin on 55 minutes for an all-too-rare first team appearance this term, but it didn’t affect Tynedale’s dominance.

Tynedale’s serene stroll towards maximum points suffered a setback on 68 minutes, when Beasley had to go off with an injury.

Full back Craig Willis went to fly half, with Kristian Borthwick taking the number 15 slot.

With three minutes left, Wharfedale brought a measure of respectability to the scoreline when replacement Josh Burridge collected a crossfield kick and fed centre Joe Donkin who scored wide right.

Barrett again failed with the kick, but Tynedale were exceptionally worthy winners.