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Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Vital win allows Tyne to pull away from drop zone

IT was a happy start to the New Year for Tynedale on Saturday, when they pulled off only their second away win of the season.

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Ollie Stedman flies through the air after avoiding the chasing Sedgley Park defenders to touch down for a try on Saturday.

They did the double over Manchester outfit Sedgley Park, and in doing so, opened up a healthy 16 point gap between them and the drop zone.

It was also the first time in 41 away league games that Tynedale had not conceded a try.

It was never a classic, as might have been expected from two sides in the lower reaches of the table, but Tynedale always just held the edge.

Tynedale were without skipper Jack Harrison, still nursing a sprung rib, and also missing through illness was fly half Matty Outson.

The number 10 shirt went to Alex Fieldhouse, who acquitted himself well until picking up a yellow card in the second half for a deliberate knock on.

Outson’s absence left Tynedale without a kicker, and into the breach stepped number eight Ollie Stedman, who by all accounts was a dab hand from the tee in his Westoe days.

He did not disappoint, with a couple of successful kicks from wide out, and given young Matty’s patchy record, it will be interesting to see who is entrusted with kicking duties when Outson is fit again.

Stedman scored a good try as well as kicking his points, and was a strong contender for the man of the match award. However, the accolade went to unsung hero Stuart Johnson, for his tireless ball carrying and thumping tackles.

The Tynedale faithful who travelled to the Manchester suburbs were delighted to find they could use a car park that was not under several feet of water, and could actually see the closing stages of the game, thanks to the presence of floodlights.

Although the famous Manchester rain failed to put in its usual appearance, the pitch was wet but fortunately, did not cut up.

Sedgley Park had their injury problems too, with regular kicker Steve Collins on the sick list.

He had an able deputy though in skipper and centre Matt Riley, who had his first chance to get the scoreboard moving on three minutes, when Tynedale were penalised for being offside at the break down.

The penalty was just inside of the visitors’ half in the centre of the field, but Riley’s aim was true to put Park 3-0 up.

He was favourite to double the advantage on 16 minutes, when a Tynedale forward was penalised for not going through the gate after a tackle.

This time the kick was just outside the Tynedale 22 and on the left hand side of the pitch, and the skipper had no problem in slotting the ball home for a 6-0 lead.

Sedgley Park dominated possession in the first 20 minutes, and on the few occasions Tynedale got the ball, they knocked every time they went into contact with the opposition.

Tynedale finally got their act together on 24 minutes, when a kick from midfield found touch five metres from the Sedgley line.

The line-out was won, and the Tynedale forwards pounded in, softening up the defence before the ball was spread left for the deadly Hamish Smales to squeeze in near the corner flag.

Stedman missed the difficult conversion, but there was now only a point between the sides.

Just before the break, the Tigers infringed at a scrum and Stedman had the chance to make his name with a penalty, 32 metres out and 20 metres in from the right hand touch.

He was bang on target, the ball bisecting the posts perfectly. Sadly though, the ball went under the bar, so Park held onto their slim lead at half time.

The Tigers should have stretched their lead a minute after the resumption, when Tynedale were offside, but Riley put the kick left of the posts.

Tynedale’s powerful prop David Dickinson had been struggling with a shoulder injury throughout the game, and seven minutes in the second half, had to come off, to be replaced by the colossus that is Douglas Jupp.

Soon afterwards, Tynedale chose to take a penalty scrum seven metres from the Sedgley line,right in front of the posts.

Scrum half Harry Peck made the break, and Stedman was on his shoulder to touch down under the posts.

The number eight converted his own try to give Tynedale a 12-6 lead with 51 minutes gone.

There are few more exciting sights than Tynedale full back Chris Harris at speed, and on 65 minutes, he launched a punishing counter attack from inside his own 22.

He found Peter Moralee, just on the edge of Park ten metres line, but a defender got back to tackle the flying winger into touch on the edge of 22.

Fieldhouse was yellow carded for a deliberate knock on, just after the hour, and Riley slotted the simple kick to reduce the lead to a mere three points.

It should have been all square on 72 minutes when Tynedale were penalised for having hands in the ruck.

It was a pretty simple kick, but again Riley’s aim was awry, and the ball went wide.

The miss was costly, for two minutes later, another scorching Harris opened up the defence, and found speed merchant Moralee, who beat three defenders to score a try 15 metres in from the left hand touch.

Stedman converted the try superbly, and Tynedale led by ten points at 9-19.

Tynedale spent the remainder of the match camped on the Sedgley line, going for yet another four try bonus point, but they had to be content with the hard fought win.

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