Tynedale were riding high after a couple of indifferent seasons in National 2 North while the Blues appear to be having a tricky spell of their own but having given second in the league Hinckley a good examination last week, despite the scoreline, and a win the week before Blues’ fans may have thought their side were turning the corner.
In truth, if they held that view they certainly didn’t by half time. The home side found themselves 38-0 down at the break. Despite having a good proportion of the early pay and their defence deflecting the advances of the visitors from their ’22 twice early on, a series of mistakes made sure it would be a near impossible second half task to get back in to the game.
Firstly Tom Morton’s high cross field kick was fielded by Oliver Walker who stepped the advancing Charlie Reed and set up the opening score running in from half way, for hooker Jamie Blamire, on 9 minutes. The home side had an opportunity in the opposition ’22 but the set piece was squandered, before ill discipline let Tynedale in and a line break off the back of a maul allowed the back 3 to combine again for a score in the corner 17 minutes in.
2 more strong attacks were repelled before the lively Rob Parker chased down his own kick on 27 minutes and things went from bad to worse 5 minutes later when an interception in the Tynedale ’22 was run in and on the stroke of half time it appeared the game was done as Tyndale made their territorial pressure pay (38-0 HT).
What the team talk must have been at half time one can only imagine but it appeared to do the trick, as after the break the Blues’ forwards gave a ‘How to’ lesson in set piece rugby.
Tynedale fluffed the first lineout they had in their own ’22 and the home side’s scrum went into overdrive repeatedly marching back the North Easterners and winning a penalty and n the third captain Ryan Parkinson gave the home crowd their first taste of something to shout about of the day, as the big men pushed over on 45 minutes (38-7).
A lot of the action was played between the ‘22’s but when the Cheshire side’s forwards dismantled the Tynedale scrum again 12 minutes later they put in the corner and used their superior muscle to maul over with Parkinson at the base again.
6 minutes late the lads ‘scrummed’ their way over and must have wondered if they could engineer enough scrums they could probably march over that way all day, whole the crowd dared to dream with the score now (21-38 with an hour gone).
5 minutes later the forwards lay the platform again, a huge maul from half way into the Tynedale ’22 set up a period of sustained pressure and the quick thinking of scrum half Nick Allsop froma quick tap pen set up winger Myles Hall who only had to drop over the line from Allsop’s offload. This was an unbelieveable comeback and the hosts hadn’t given their guests a sniff in the second period. The next score came from a familiar source, you guessed it, a huge spell of scrummaging where again the Blues just took penalty after penalty and Franky Barker eventually touched down at the base.
So 7 minutes to go and 3 points the difference. The 2 sides exchanged blows and Tynedale actually had a lineout in the Blues’ 22 but after snaffling it, Lewis Winterbottom made the break that for a moment seemed as if it would leave to a magical moment but he couldn’t keep hold of it in contact and the North Easterners held the ball from the scrum to the end.
What a fantastic game of rugby and an excellent fightback from the The Blues I nthe second half. Just to have the chance to win at the end having been 38-0 at half time shows they have tremendous grit. The forwards certainly dug the side out of a hole with their tremendous set piece effort while Tom Davenport dragged the team forward at times along with Lewis Barker and Tom Morton both contributed a couple of good breaks.
The Blues really need to produce an 80 minute performance though and with the next 3 fixtures being against sides lower than them in the table there is an opportunity to put a run together and build some confidence going into the festive break.