They welcomed back Jonny Boatman for his first game since breaking his leg. There was also a return for Tom Wilson, who is currently between holidays, and Chris Forrest who was making his Stags debut. With several players unavailable Davy Tighe switched to fly half and Ryan Painter started at scrum half.
In picturesque Corbridge there was a little drizzle and slight breeze, but apart from that conditions were perfect, with the added bonus this week of having a referee for the game!!!
The early exchanges were fairly even and the first opportunity to put points on the board fell to Tynedale when they were award a penalty after 3 mins, which they easily converted; 3 - 0. This stirred West into action and from the resulting restart West went on the attack and when some good pressure resulted in a free kick, they went quickly and after some good recycling the ball was spun out to the backs where on 12 mins Michael Hogan picked lovely line off fly half Davy Tighe to touch down under the posts, Zac Southern converted; 3 - 7.
From the restart West knocked on and this put Tynedale back on the attack. They had an extended period of possession and exerted some good pressure on the West line, but good defence from West kept them out. Unfortunately during this phase of play Ben Lloyd received a yellow card and was sent to the sin bin.
Tynedale continued to press and had a number of attempts at crossing the West line and finally managed to break the West defence after 30 mins, but missed the conversion; 8 - 7. West went back on attack from the kick off but could not manage another score in the half, although the pressure did result in indiscretions by Tynedale and they had a man sent to the sin bin on 38 mins. The half finished 8 - 7.
The second half started off fairly scrappily as the conditions became more and more difficult. Early in the half Tynedale spent a lot of time in the West half and after 48 mins were awarded a penalty which they converted; 11 - 7. From this point West came back into the game and started to put some good phases together but couldn't further add to their tally and in fact it was Tynedale who were the next to score with a try on 60 mins, the conversion was missed; 16 - 7.
West then enjoyed their best possession and when some strong scrummaging and good attacking runs created quick ball for the backs the ball went down the line to winger Tom Wilson who crossed for the try after 70 mins, an excellent conversion by Zac Southern brought us within two pints; 16 - 14. West now had to do everything they could to get the victory, but the Tynedale defence held out well.
Cam had been itching to get on in the front row all game and finally got his chance to impress the coaches in the 74th minute when Chris Forrest was forced to leave the field with a groin injury.
In the last few minutes West continued to push and run the ball at every opportunity, but as the game moved into the final seconds Tynedale scored their final try with West trying everything to keep the ball live, they knock on in their own half handed the ball to Tynedale and in broken play they had a clear run under the posts with the successful conversion the final play of the game, leaving the final score 23 - 14.
The Stags certainly raised their game for this one and played their best rugby of the season so far. At the moment we are finding it difficult to keep a consistent team from week to week with players unavailable due to work commitments or injury, and this lack of consistency seems to be affecting the performance.
Lets try and get a few more out training so we can do some constructive sessions and build on this weeks performance.
Thanks to Tinker and Fossy for going on the bench.
Z Southern, T Wilson, P Moss, P Hodgson, G Edwards, D Tighe, R Painter, J Boatman, N Myers, A Barker, J Baggs, B Lloyd, M Hogan, A Dixon, C Forrest
Res: M Foster, P Williamson, A Cameron