Chester 1st XV vs Tynedale 1st XV 34-33
Saturday April 28th 2018
This was a cliffhanger of a match with which to see out Chester’s season. The result was in doubt until the final whistle, with the home side just managing to squeeze home by the narrowest of margins against a Tynedale side that posed a threat, especially in the wide channels, from the first whistle to the last. Because the first team pitch is being re-laid, the match was played on the seconds’ pitch which was in surprisingly good order, given the volume of recent rain, helping both sides to move the ball through the hands and play attacking rugby.
Early on Chester made light of playing up the slope, scoring an unconverted try after only 4 minutes. Strong home defence forced a Tynedale error and an attacking scrum. Initially the forwards carried and recycled the ball, before it was moved right then left for Macca van Sertima to cross in the left hand corner. However, Tynedale soon came back with a converted try of their own. Exiting from defence, a loose Chester chip ahead was recovered by the visitors who ran the ball back into the home 22. The ball was passed quickly right, and then back left, where wing forward Joe Mills burst through a hole in the Chester defence for a try, converted by fly half Ash Smith.
The Chester forwards, in particular, were putting in an industrious shift, holding onto the ball and carrying it up the slope out of deep defence. This paid dividends after 24 minutes, when the second of two attacking lineouts close to the Tynedale line was driven over for a try by Alick Croft, converted by James Robins. Both sides mounted threatening attacks during the remainder of the half, but neither managed to score, leaving Chester with a 10-7 lead at half time, and seemingly well placed, given that they had the benefit of playing down hill in the second period.
All seemed to be proceeding to plan when, in the 44th minute, Chester managed a third try. The ball was picked out of a scrum on the Tynedale 22 by Kyle Joseph and carried into contact. It was quickly recycled and moved left, where a scything break by Tom Foden took him almost to the try line. He offloaded to wing Craig Ross on his left shoulder. Craig crossed for a try, converted by James Robins.
It was now the Tynedale packs’ turn to carry the ball up the slope, which they did to good effect after 55 minutes, setting up an attacking lineout 30 metres out. From there they moved the ball quickly right, and it was their inside centre, Bramwell Thomas’s, turn to step inside a covering defence for an unconverted try. From the restart the visitors’ began to build another threatening attack, but Chester full back Andrew Oakden intercepted a pass on the Tynedale left and ran 70 metres for a try, that was very well converted from wide out by James Robins.
Chester ran back Tynedale’s restart kick and set up a scrum about 30 metres from the visitors’ try line. Guy Ford picked up from No.8 and passed to scrum half Tom Holloway going right. From there the ball went Macca van Sertims, coming into the line from the left wing. Macca’s clean break enabled him to find Tom Foden, who crossed for a converted try.
Chester now appeared to be comfortably in front 31-12 in the final quarter, with the slope in their favour. However Tynedale, much to their credit, did not see things that way, while Chester were visibly tiring. Speculative Chester kicks into Tynedale territory did not find touch, which would have taken the pace out of the game, but allowed the visitors’ dangerous backs to run the ball back up the slope. With 14 minutes left, one such kick was followed by a fractured chase, allowing Tynedale to score a fine converted try and give them hope. This appeared fleeting when James Robins kicked a penalty three minutes later, to put his side 15 points ahead. But, once again, the visitors had other ideas. Again they ran back a loose Chester kick up their right wing, before chipping ahead and beating the despairing cover for Joe Mills to score a converted try. Things really became tight when, with Guy Ford down injured, Tynedale’s right wing Guy Pike managed a fine break and slipped the ball inside for his left wing, Oliver Walker, to score yet another converted try, off what was a fine supporting line. So for the remaining few minutes the home crowd were left to sweat on a one point lead. Fortunately the Chester defence held out to carry the day, and finish a creditable 7th in the league.