Tynedale were riding high at the top of the league and arrived at Brinkburn with a full strength squad, so it promised to be a testing afternoon for the Stags. It was another beautiful day, with bright sunshine and only a slight breeze, with the Catcote Road pitch in perfect condition.
The Stags started brightly and mounting an attack straight from the kick off and after a number of good attacking phases Ryan Painter forced his way over from close out on five minutes for the first try of the game, Zac Southern adding the conversion; 7 - 0. West immediately put themselves straight back under pressure when they failed to gather the kick off and Tynedale regained procession. The visitors mounted a number attacking plays and although West defended well the pressure eventually told and they went over for a try on 13mins and also making the conversion; 7 - 7.
Tynedale were starting to get into their rhythm and crossed again for their second try on 15mins, missing the conversion; 7 - 12. West were really struggling to contain Tynedale’s attacking play and the situation wasn't helped when they lost Darren Thomas and then Chris Forrest to injury, mid way through the first half, replaced by Jon Cole and Craig Hadwen respectively. Tynedale then went on to score a further two tries and conversions on 26mins and 29mins, with Wests only further score of the half a Southern penalty on 30mins, making the half time score 10 - 26.
West suffered further injuries in the second half with Ryan Painter and Andy Robson also having to withdraw due to injury, replaced by Neil Howe and Sam Powell. Tynedale strength in depth was illustrated after 60mins when they brought on a full new front row. Although Tynedale had some big strong runners we didn't really help ourselves at times by falling off our first up tackles, allowing them to advance over the gain line and on the front foot they were a threatening team, as Tynedale often are.
The enforced changes were beginning to tell and although the players who came on did well, we found it difficult to live with Tynedale in the scrums and open play. Tynedale were very much in charge during the second half and went on to score a further five tries and two conversions. Wests only score of the second half was a solitary try by Davey Tighe and a Southern conversion late in the second half, when the game was really over as a competition, leaving the final score 17 - 55.
Although the result is disappointing and is the Stags heaviest defeat for well over a season, we can't be too disheartened. We had a lot of changes in some key positions and this does disrupt the team and how they want to play the game. The players coming in did well, but we were up against a very good Tynedale team, had we been playing any other team in the league I'm sure we would have competed a lot better.
Next week the Stags play in the first round of the County Cup, away to Consett II so will be looking to get ourselves back to winning ways.
D Thomas, Z Southern, P Moss, P Hodgson, A Larkin, D Tighe, R Painter, C Atkins, N Myers, C Young, A Robson, J Corbett, C Forrest, A Dixon, B Cullinaine
C Hadwen, J Cole, N Howe, S Powell