Stourbridge 14 Tynedale 22

8:52am Monday 30th April 2012

STOURBRIDGE came up short in their bid for a third straight home win to conclude their tenure in National League One, as Tynedale’s well-organised defence proved the difference between the two sides.

The Saxons played into the teeth of an unseasonably chilly wind in the first half, yet spent the opening eight or nine minutes putting pressure on the Tynedale line with countless phases of play, only to find no way through, the Northumberland side eventually relieving the pressure when they cleared after being awarded a scrum.

The stalemate continued until just after the half-hour mark when Stourbridge conceded possession from their own line-out. Tynedale edged ever nearer the home line with each phase of play until the ball reached winger Matthew Horrocks who touched down for a score converted by fly-half Matthew Outson.

Saxons’ reply was as swift as it was effective. Matthew Williams was everywhere for the home side, as often filling in at scrum-half or first receiver as occupying the right-wing spot that his shirt number suggested, and he popped up in the midfield once more to feed Alex Rovira, the flanker dancing past visiting tacklers to touch down from close range, allowing full-back James Hearn to convert.

But on the stroke of half time, Tynedale regained the advantage when left-wing Alan Rogers created an opening for outside centre Christopher Harris to cross in the right corner, the wind pushing Outson’s conversion attempt inches wide of the upright.

Another Harris try at the start of the second half, following a break by scrum-half Harry Peck that advanced the visitors to the Saxons’ five-metre line, stretched their lead to ten points, with Outson - now kicking into the wind - unable to convert.

Once again, a swift riposte came from the home side as inside centre Ben Barkley created an opening from good line-out ball, with the unlikely figure of hooker Liam Wordley gratefully rounding off the move, while Hearn added the two-pointer to cut the gap to three.

The biting cold wind continued unabated, and it hardly helped Saxons’ cause as one or two handling errors crept in, preventing the hosts from exerting pressure on the Tynedale defence when they were most vulnerable. And it was only a fine tackle from left-wing Gary Dipple that prevented Smales from penetrating deep into the 22 after the full-back had initially fumbled on his own ten-metre line from Williams’ clearing kick.

Tynedale ran down the clock with a succession of phases of play in midfield, slowly encroaching further into Saxons’ territory, and as time expired, front-row replacement Alexander Westgarth strolled over the line to touch down for the try that would deny the home side the consolation of a losing bonus, with Outson’s third conversion miss proving of no consequence.

Stourbridge: Hearn, Williams, Jarvis, Barkley, Dipple, Reakes, White; Sturdy, Wordley, Furniss, Dacres, Hurrell, Rodley, Rovira, Harper. Replacements: Baker (for Dipple, 72, tactical), Page (for Rovira, 55, injury), Hill (for Sturdy, 51, tactical), Lawrence (for Furniss, 75, tactical), A. Bressington (for Williams, 62, tactical).

Tynedale: Smales, Horrocks, Harris, Mountain, Rogers, Outson, Peck; A. Harrison, McGuigan, Dickson, R. Dunn, G. Dunn, Cousin, Johnson, Shires. Replacements: Massey, J. Harrison, Westgarth (for Dickson, 67, tactical), Ridley (for McGuigan, 59, tactical), Irvin.

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