WHAT an absolute cracker.
In a game they had little right to win, tenacious Tynedale snatched victory with a try at the death and can now be confident of prolonging their existence in National One.
It would be a poorer place without them as the entertainment always matches the setting and with spring in the air this was a real treat for the fans.
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Tynedale’s worst run in the national leagues had seen them lose 12 of the previous 15 and this game had all the makings of an action replay of last month’s visit of leaders Ealing.
Tynedale again built a healthy lead, then shot themselves in the foot just before half-time and looked like being overpowered in the second half. But again they fought back to regain the lead, only to fall behind to a late penalty, just as they did against the Trailfinders.
The difference this time was the winning try, scored by centre Tom Bramwell, who broke two tackles to emphasise the impact of the replacements.
He replaced skipper Jack Harrison for the last 15 minutes, while others who had already made a difference were young Newcastle Falcons prop Scott Wilson, lock Joe Robinson and fly half George Cullen.
Wilson, who played for England Under 20s in Ireland the previous week, helped to steady a scrum which had been going backwards.
When the more powerful visiting pack drove over from close range straight after halftime it put them a point ahead after trailing 25-12 shortly before the interval.
Tynedale were so deeply under the cosh at that point it was impossible to imagine them scoring again and they fell further behind when Rosslyn Park No 8 Hugo Ellis, the division’s leading try scorer, grabbed his second of the match and 22nd of the season.
But the replacements injected new life and after holding their own for the next 15 minutes Tynedale struck.
Scrum half Harry Peck made a break on halfway with the excellent full back Chris Harris in support. They took play to the right corner then the ball was moved left and Wilson appeared in the line to send winger Hamish Smales over.
Cullen’s well-struck conversion was narrowly wide, leaving Tynedale a point behind, but he’s a stronger lad than the fly half he replaced, Matty Outson, and two minutes later he landed a 40-metre penalty from wide on the right.
It was a kick worthy of being the match-winner, but with five minutes left Tynedale were penalised at a scrum on the 22 and Rosslyn Park went back in front.
It was Ealing all over again, but this time the stronger visiting pack were unable to run the clock down. When Bramwell received the ball 25 metres out there wasn’t much on, but he burst through one tackle, shrugged off another and dived over Chris Ashtonstyle.
Tynedale lack a few big, strong farmers up front these days, but they never seem short of good backs and in the absence of leading try scorer, Peter Moralee, his replacement, Alex Fieldhouse, scored two tries.
One was from an interception on halfway, stretching to flattering proportions a lead initially gained after one minute, when Harris collected a kick on halfway, attacked up the left and took an inside pass to chip ahead and win the race.
Outson converted and added the first of his two penalties before Tynedale dropped the restart and immediately conceded a try.
Rosslyn Park added a catchand- drive try inbetween Fieldhouse’s two efforts, then on the stroke of half-time Tynedale carelessly gave the ball away and visiting fly half Sam Katz raced 60 metres to score.
He also converted from the left touchline and Park’s 25-12 deficit quickly became a 31-25 lead after the break. Tynedale looked beaten, but fresh legs turned the tide in thrilling fashion.