Tynedale’s youngsters show their fighting spirit
Published at 09:10, Monday, 08 October 2012
WITH a sick-list long enough to fill Holby City Hospital, and facing an unbeaten Cinderford side, you could have got long odds against a Tynedale victory on Saturday.
Throw in the fact they conceded a try to a Brobdingnagian lock in the first minute, and then had fire-breathing number eight Ollie Stedman yellow carded before the game was 10 minutes old, and even street corner bookies had stopped taking bets.
But the doubters reckoned without the fighting spirit of this young Tynedale side, who just don’t know when they are beaten.
They lifted themselves off the floor, and simply wiped the floor with the men from the Forest of Dean.
Slick handling, fierce tackling, powerful running and solid teamwork meant that as full time was approaching, Tynedale had scored six tries and were leading 36-13.
The final score was given a ludicrously lopsided look as the visitors took advantage of the fact exhausted Tynedale were down to 14 men, having run out of replacements, to score three injury time tries to grab two unlikely bonus points.
The game was also notable for the return of two Tynedale favourites from injury, both of whom played key roles in the victory.
Winger Peter Cole has not played since breaking his wrist last season, but he celebrated his return with a well taken try.
Stuart Johnson has made more comebacks than a boomerang, but a shortage of locks meant he had to go into the second row rather than his favoured flanker role.
He responded with a man of the match performance alongside that other thoroughbred workhorse Graeme Dunn.
In the continued absence of Chris Harris, Peter Moralee turned out at full back, and there was also a first opportunity for home fans to look at Irish U18 international fly half George Cullen.
Cullen looked impressive, but it was his second half replacement at stand-off, Alex Fieldhouse, who really caught the eye with a dazzling display.
Captaining the side was Jack Harrison, almost unrecognisable beneath a Petr Cech style helmet to protect the nasty gash he picked up at Ealing.
Tynedale kicked off with a stiff breeze at their backs, but they were as nervous as long-tailed cats in a room full of rocking chairs.
Their opening handling movement ended with the ball being hurled wildly into touch, and Tynedale were always in trouble from the line-out.
After a series of pick and drives, enormous second row Ben West was as unstoppable as a Alpine avalanche as he went over from close range.
The kick failed, but the Tynedale faithful were already gulping nervously, especially when they lost two consecutive scrums against the head.
Things got worse on 10 minutes, when having already been warned by referee Andrew Taylorson, Stedman infringed again, and was sent to the cooler for 10 minutes.
However, Tynedale gradually settled down, and started to put some useful moves together. On 14 minutes, a good hanging kick by Cullen put Cinderford under pressure, allowing Tynedale to gain possession in the 22.
Tynedale were up in numbers, but what should have been the scoring pass went to the only Cinderford player within yards.
There were no mistakes on 18 minutes though, when a sweeping handling move ended with winger Alan Rogers darting over in the corner.
Cullen’s kick was close, but not close enough.
Cinderford came roaring back, spurred on by their excellent number eight George Evans, and the visitors put together a fine Evans-inspired charge which brought a try for winger Lloyd Stapleton.
The kick died in the wind, but Tynedale were 10-5 down.
However, they kept their heads, and on 24 minutes, surprised the powerful pack by taking a scrum against the head.
While they were regrouping, skipper Harrison snapped up the ball, and weaved his way in under the sticks for Cullen to convert.
There was an element of fortune in the next score, as there seemed to be more than a hint of a forward pass in the move from midfield, but Moralee wasn’t complaining, as he raced in under the posts again for another converted try.
Tynedale were now in complete control, and when Cinderford lost possession in front of their own posts, flanker Sam Reynolds, long hair flapping from beneath his headguard like the tail of a Grand National winner, pounced for the bonus point try, converted by Cullen.
That put Tynedale 26-10 up at the interval.
Cinderford started the second half well, with a Mark Davies penalty on 11 minutes narrowing the gap.
It was still Tynedale who were the more impressive, though, and a tremendous pounding run by Stedman should have brought a try.
However, he chose to go it alone, with Cole unmarked outside him, and was swallowed up by the defence.
Cole was held up just short as Tynedale turned the screw.
A superb break by Fieldhouse was continued by Stedman on 22 minutes, and this time he did pass to Cole on his outside, and the winger took the score to 31-13.
With just three minutes of normal time left, Stedman romped away again, and Moralee was there to take the ball on for the sixth try, to give Tynedale a seemingly impregnable 36-13 lead.
However, there was a lot of injury time to play, following what at first looked a nasty injury to winger Nevaro Codlin.
Tynedale had introduced all five of their replacements when Reynolds picked up a late knock, and was unable to continue.
That left Tynedale with only 14 men going into injury time, and Cinderford took full advantage of their extra man.
It seemed little more than consolation when centre Rob Winchle crossed with 44 minutes on the clock, but good forward pressure brought a another try four minutes later for scrum half Sam Arnott to secure the four try bonus point.
And when the excellent Evans blasted his way over soon after for a converted try, Cinderford got another bonus point for coming within a converted try on their hosts.
Published by http://www.hexhamcourant.co.uk