Chester 33-22 Tynedale
Chester move 2nd in National 2 North
Chester 33 v Tynedale 22
10th November, 2018
This was a well earned bonus point win that moves Chester to second in the league. It was not always easy, as Tynedale were competitive throughout, belying their lowly 12th place. However, it never really looked as though they would get the better of the home side.
Tynedale moved into an early 0-3 lead after a Chester player was penalised for holding on in a ruck, but the home side soon began to assert some pressure to score a converted try in the tenth minute. The pack stole a lineout and the ball was moved left where No.8 Kyle Joseph managed a half break before offloading to winger Craig Ross. Craig then bounced off a defender and ran 30 metres into the Tynedale 22. Chester then showed great patience, moving the ball right and then left using both forwards and then backs. When the ball reached the left flank the Tynedale defence was in tatters, there was a 3 man overlap, and wing forward Shay Owen crossed for the score.
The traffic was by no means one way. Tynedale were proving effective in stealing successive Chester lineouts. In addition Chester were beginning to cough up more penalties, especially for holding onto the ball after tackles, where the referee appeared to allow significant latitude for defenders rolling away and attacking the ball on the floor. Hence it was difficult for the home side to escape their own half. However, the Chester defence was excellent and Tynedale were unable to take advantage of their periods of territorial advantage, conceding turnovers and making errors under pressure, often deep in the home 22.
On 23 minutes a penalty for crossing allowed Chester to set up a lineout near the visitors’ 22. The ball was moved right into midfield where fullback Tom Foden made a clean break, and was hauled down 10 metres short of the tryline. A quick recycle allowed the ball to be moved to the right flank. Scrumhalf Josh Morris ran an excellent support line to pick up an inside pass and cross for a try converted by James Robbins. The half was played out in much the same pattern, with Tynedale generally controlling territory but unable to bludgeon their way over the tryline through the pack, nor find the wit to find a way around the home defence on the flanks. In fact the last incident of the half saw Sean Green almost in at the corner for another Chester score.
The home side effectively took control of the match with two converted tries very early in the second half to put themselves 28-3 in front. First, following a lineout, outside centre Macca van Sertima carried ten metres into heavy traffic in midfield. A quick recycle allowed his fellow centre James Robbins to make an outside break. Sean Green tracked James on his inside before taking an inside ball for a well constructed score. Within a minute Tynedale were trying once again to run the ball from inside their 22, when Macca picked up a loose pass and scored the bonus point try, carrying a Tynedale defender with him.
In some ways this score typified Tynedale’s dilemma in the second half. They were running from deep and playing catch up, but simply lacked the accuracy and pace to make that tactic work. Things went better for them when they played for territory and tried to force Chester errors. By the 50th minute it was clear that referee had become impatient with the home side Three penalties in rapid succession saw Craig Ross take a yellow card for the team. The following 5 metre lineout was mauled and a Tynedale forward spun off infield to score a converted try. Even a man down the home side were able to hold out Tynedale’s attempts to run the ball at them, until on the hour Macca was binned for a high tackle and Chester were briefly down to 13 men. Once again Tynedale successfully rumbled a 5 metre lineout to make the score 28-17.
An eleven point gap made an upset at least feasible and a losing bonus point quite likely for Tynedale, but back to 14 Chester’s defence proved good enough. Then in the 70th minute the home side once again turned over a Tynedale ball. The ball was moved right from the touchline and back and forth 3 more times to the flanks, where eventually wing forward George Baxter and substitute centre Adam King found space. Harry Craven, now on at scrumhalf, tracked the break inside and took the scoring pass. The try put Chester out of sight at 33-15.
Tynedale did not give up and did manage another try at the death, again from an attacking lineout, from which the ball was moved right and an attacking forward found space in midfield against a tiring defence. Perhaps greater tactical awareness would have rewarded them with a bonus point that few spectators would have begrudged them.