Tynedale aiming to take another hop towards title

Tynedale face the Grasshoppers test on Saturday - and a win would provide a big leap closer to the National Three North title.

Tynedale face the Grasshoppers test on Saturday - and a win would provide a big leap closer to the National Three North title.

The Corbridge men travel to Preston this weekend, and second-placed Blaydon still face the same trip on the final day of the season.

If John Shotton's men steal away with a victory, they will be one step closer to making the Crow Trees men's visit near-defunct.

In any case, third-placed Preston have a big part to play in deciding the title, and could still steal a march on the promotion race.

Tynedale will be pulling out all the stops to ensure that does not happen - and as ever they will be banking on the scintillating style of rugby instilled by head coach Tom Borthwick.

Chairman of rugby Shotton today hailed Borthwick's dedication to the flowing game.

He said: "If you speak to anyone from the other teams they will probably say that we play the most attractive rugby, and it has been getting results too.

"That is down to Tom - he is a great coach and his video analysis especially has been first-class. It really brings on the players.

"Tom has worked hard to get all the lads playing his style of rugby, and it is really paying off."

Blaydon are only a bonus-point win away from drawing level with Tynedale, but the opportunities to claw that back are receding each week.

Director of rugby Nick Gandy knows his men must sustain immense pressure by winning all their remaining games, and keeping fingers crossed Tynedale slip up on the home straight.

An away trip to mid-table Macclesfield might seem straightforward, but at the business end of the campaign anything can happen.

Gandy said: "Things have been picking up again, so we must continue in that direction with what looks another testing away affair. The players know what is expected of them between now and the end of the season."

In North One, Westoe entertain Beverley, while in North Two East Percy Park travel to Middlesbrough and Morpeth host Old Crossleyans.

In Durham/Northumberland One, Alnwick face Sunderland, Gateshead welcome Redcar, Gosforth take on Ponteland and North Shields lock horns with Northern.

Novos travel to West Hartlepool to take on TDSOB in Durham/ Northumberland Two.

TYNEDALE (away, Preston Grasshoppers): Will Massey; Ben Duncan; Jack Harrison; Hamish Smales; Jake White; Cameron Johnston; Philip Belgian (c); Jack Smales; Gavin Beasley; Ross Samson; Robin Holroyd; Peter Southern; Douglas Jupp; Dan Herdman; Rupert Harden; Rob Vickers; Aaron Charlton; Paul Scott; Ben Marshall; Graeme Smith; Andrew Murray; Stuart Johnson; Grant Rastall; Graeme MacGilchrist; Jamie Murray; Matthew Fieldhouse.

NORTHERN (away, North Shields): A Sutherland; S Kay; P James; P Scott; F Shaw; P Thompson; D O'Sullivan; D Kay; S Turnbull (c); C Irving; A Douglas; A Buxton; G Smith; A Batson; A Moore; N Hart; L Cowan; N Welton; O Wakefield.

NOVOS (away, West Hartlepool TDSOB): M Bradford, M Baker, R Mitchell, S Greetham, V Ali, C Fife, Mark Williamson; M Finlay, P Douthwaite, R Clarke, N Cotterill, J Desmond, S Kelleher, B Merrett, D Tate. Subs: R Moat, G Evans, J Beattie.

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