RUGBY has never been dull at Tynedale and the only disappointment in Saturday’s thriller was that they failed to topple the National One leaders.
When the Trailfinders trailed 15-0 they appeared to have lost their way, but in the last two minutes of the first half Tynedale dropped their previously impressive guard and conceded two tries.
Hopes that they might do Blaydon a favour by giving them a chance to take over at the top suddenly nosedived and when Ealing scored two more tries to lead 22-15 it looked all over.
But Tynedale came back to level the scores and again had the chance to reply after Ealing kicked a penalty.
The one awarded to the hosts with five minutes left should have been just within Ollie Stedman’s range, but they went for the corner and made a hash of their attempt to set up a driving maul.
This was the sixth defeat of the season at what was once Fortress Corbridge and after punching above their weight to finish fifth in each of their first two seasons at this level, Tynedale look set for a second successive finish in the lower half.
The personnel now changes more rapidly, but they keep producing exciting backs such as winger Peter Moralee, whose first half brace took his season’s tally to 12.
Both were spectacular tries.
For the first he came off the right wing to support a move going left and took an inside pass on halfway to burst clear and wrong-foot the full back before racing to the posts.
The second stemmed from livewire scrum half Harry Peck taking a quick penalty just inside his own half and making 40 metres before sending Moralee over.
Given that he was playing behind a pack generally going backwards, Peck was outstanding and Stedman also impressed as a strong and skilful No 8, outshining his opposite number Sam Shires, who was with Tynedale last season.
Stedman kicked goals for Westoe last season and has now been handed the task again, landing a conversion and 35-metre penalty to stretch the lead to 15-0.
A shock was on the cards, but Tynedale got a little overexcited and when a potential scoring pass went to an Ealing player instead the game changed in an instant.
The public address man’s tone had sounded a little ominous when he announced that in the only change to the teams the prolific Phil Chesters had been restored to Ealing’s left wing.
He scored 41 tries last season and leads the way again in National One.
His 14th came when Tynedale’s misplaced pass allowed the ball to be quickly shipped out to him and he sped 75 metres to score.
Then Tynedale carelessly tapped the ball down at the tail of a line-out on halfway, allowing Ealing to swoop on the ball and move it left to Chesters.
This time he had only 25 metres to go and chipped over the full back before cleverly re-gathering while sliding over the line.
Centre Tom Wheatcroft fluffed both conversions and missed again after scoring the third try 14 minutes after halftime.
This stemmed from Tynedale skipper Hamish Smales kicking carelessly out of defence when he had created enough space to run it.
Ealing were now in control and sustained pressure resulted in the bonus point try being scored by the posts, allowing a simple conversion.
Tynedale responded impressively, however, again driven forward by Peck.
He gained 40 metres from another quickly-taken penalty and the ball went left before coming back inside for flanker Sam Reynolds to score.
Stedman’s conversion levelled the scores but one of the club’s great stalwarts Andrew Murray, on as a replacement lock, conceded the penalty 30 metres from the posts which allowed the Trailfinders to remain at the summit.