Berwick Rugby exit Northumberland Cup
Berwick 8-27 Tynedale
Berwick Rugby got their season underway on Saturday when they hosted Tynedale in the Northumberland Senior Cup, writes Colin Frame.
Early season games are usually a ‘hit or miss’ affair due to players being absent for harvest, holiday or washing their hair. However, this game was entertaining with some decent rugby being played by both sides.
Both teams tired as the game went on but both coaching teams were happy to have a good run out played in the best of spirits with no serious injuries on either side.
Berwick started brightly and forced the early pressure with newly converted Number 8 Tommy McColl having plenty of opportunities with the ball in hand to make good ground.
Scrum half Adam Hardie was also early to show he was up for the game with a couple of useful snipes round the fringes and good distribution.
The early pressure was rewarded as Tynedale strayed offside in the centres and fly half Jack Webster stroked the ball over to give Berwick an early 3-0 lead.
Tynedale came back into the game with some robust forward play from the pack and it was Berwick’s turn to defend under pressure. They held out for several minutes before finally Berwick gave away a penalty which Tynedale were able to convert to even the match up at three-each.
Tynedale continued to take the game to Berwick and a simple try was scored soon after. A solid scrum and then a quick ball to the centre combining with a missed tackle allowed the centre to score under the posts. The conversion was a formality and the visitors were 3-10 up.
Berwick were still in the game and from the restart they spent some time in the Tynedale half from which they scored a good try of their own. Berwick won a five metre scrum after Tyndale desperately carried the ball over their own line to snuff out a Berwick kick through.
From the scrum Tommy McColl picked up and used his power to barge over the defence to touch down. Unfortunately Webster couldn’t add the conversion and Berwick trailed 8-10.
Before half time Tynedale extended their lead after a series of drives created the space for a touch down out wide. A smashing conversion saw the half draw to a close with Tynedale enjoying a 8-17 lead.
The second half was a more scrappy affair as early season rust and fitness created various knock ons and missed opportunities. There was some good work by the pack with Scott Owens in the thick of things both in attack and defence.
Berwick lost a man to the sin bin when Jordan Brown was yellow carded after a ruck broke out and the Berwick winger retaliated to some minor foul play.
Tynedale used the man advantage to score the try of the afternoon when their full back stepped back inside to leave the Berwick defence flat footed and having made the break through he was able to touch down to extend Tynedale’s lead to 8-22.
The match petered out as both sides emptied the benches and both sides showed real signs of running out of steam.
A couple of missed tackles from Berwick allowed Tynedale to add another unconverted try to put a gloss on the result which ended with Tynedale going through to the next round after winning the game 8-27.
As pre-season matches go this was a decent affair and the sparse crowd were entertained as both sides played some decent rugby.
This was a useful game for the Blacks as it bolstered their fitness and allowed some of last year’s colts to play their first senior game.