Preston Grasshoppers 17-34 Tynedale
A strong second-half turnaround from Tynedale saw them overcome Preston Grasshoppers at Lightfoot Green.
Despite being 17-7 ahead, Hoppers were comfortably beaten with Tynedale scoring 12 unanswered second-half points.
Hoppers head coach Garth Dew reflected: “That was one of the toughest games to watch this season because we had massive ascendency in the first 15 minutes and if we’d have just been sharper it could have been 15 or 20 nil at half-time. Instead, we were sloppy and gave away two really soft tries.
“In the second-half we were out on our feet and thoroughly outplayed. I think our personal skill level was poor – if you can’t catch, pass and make tackles then you’re never going to compete and it’s a steep learning curve for some of the lads, but we’re not going to stop working and it’s valuable experience for these young players.
“The question I’ve asked the lads after the game is ‘are you working hard enough on your individual skills?’ because as a coach you want to be looking at the bigger picture and the team game, but if you can’t do your individual jobs then you’re always going to struggle.”
Kick-off was delayed due to Tynedale’s team bus suffering a punctured tyre, and the lack of preparation time seemed evident in the visitor’s sloppy start.
They were 9-0 down after 12 minutes, courtesy of three Lewis Allen penalties.
But Tynedale were on the scoresheet moments later, when Joe Mills finished off a counter-attack which started from inside their own twenty-two, with Ashley Smith converting.
Another Allen penalty followed, before Hoppers extended their lead further.
Niall Crosley crossed the whitewash, finishing well in the corner by beating two Tynedale defenders after good build up work from Alex Taylorson, to give the hosts a 17-7 lead.
On the stroke of half-time, Mills grabbed his second try of the afternoon, breezing through some poor Hoppers tackling, but Smith’s conversion struck the post.
It took Tynedale only five second-half minutes to go ahead for the first time in the match. James Spencer broke the gainline and found Oliver Walker in support, and the winger crossed the whitewash to put Tynedale 17-22 ahead.
Hoppers rallied and sought to regain their lead, but a misplaced pass allowed Tynedale to counter-attack once again, and Max Davies bagged a score with Smith adding the extras.
Tynedale saw out the game’s remaining minutes by keeping the ball with their pack and not letting Hoppers break their resolute defensive work.
With eight minutes remaining, Jack Outson completed the turnaround by touching down out wide to wrap up a comfortable win Tynedale’s sixth successive away victory.
By Henry Woodsford, photo by Mike Craig.