Tynedale 38 Preston Grasshoppers 43: Winning start to the new season
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While Hoppers have plenty to do, especially in the tight, they showed great creativity, resilience and fitness to beat a determined and muscular Tynedale outfit.
The early exchanges went Tynedale’s way as their heavier pack dominated and delivered two tries in the first 15 minutes for a 12-0 lead.
Having failed to help themselves by way of handling errors, imprecise lineout and a high penalty count, Hoppers got a toehold in the game.
Pressure resulted in a penalty 10 metres from the Tynedale line, where a scrum brought quick ball and a deft offload from Jacob Browne putting Jake Maher under the posts for a 12-7 scoreline.
Tynedale replied with their recipe of catch and drive from the lineout giving them a converted try and a 19-7 advantage.
Just before the half-hour, Hoppers kicked a penalty to the corner and took clean lineout ball with Maher collecting Will Hunt’s pass for a second try.
They regained possession from the restart with Tyler Spence gathering Hunt’s kick to score, the touchline conversion putting Hoppers 21-19 in front.
Hunt gave them a five-point lead with a penalty from the restart but it was Tynedale who led at the break.
A penalty was kicked to the corner, where clean lineout ball and a driving maul created a try for a 26-24 scoreline.
After errors and penalties from both teams early in the second half, Hoppers went ahead again when Spence punted the ball into space and Browne won the race to touch down.
From the restart, Hoppers again kicked to the corner from a penalty and recycled the ball for Hunt to put Ed Keohane under the posts, the conversion making it 36-26.
Back came Tynedale with another penalty leading to a five-metre scrum, which was driven over to cut Hoppers’ lead to 36-33 on 64 minutes.
Hoppers brought on Ben Haigh, who marked his debut by finishing off an excellent move on 73 minutes as Hoppers went 43-33 ahead.
Tynedale had the last word, completing the scoring with an unconverted try on 79 minutes.