1010 (miles return) 'til we do it
again (in March)
The longest journey on the English rugby calendar, not including
Mike Tindall's route from Altitude Bar in Queenstown to the team
hotel, begins before dawn on Saturday morning. That's when Tynedale
leave their Northumberland home, just beneath Hadrian's Wall, and
head for an island within sight of France.
In the red corner, Jersey are a team on a roll, with six
straight wins including last weekend's stunner against Cambridge.
The Islanders may have been just under the radar before the game at
Volac Park, but that's not the case any more - which is what
scoring 33 unanswered points in the second half, away from home
against the side third in the league, with 14 men, does to a team's
attempts to remain unobtrusive.
The missing man in the second half, Nathan Hannay, will be
absent this week as he begins the sentence for his red card (this
is currently a fortnight's suspension by JRFC which may or may not
be deemed sufficient punishment by a RFU disciplinary panel on 28th
November). The absence of the Big Friendly (except to foxes) Giant
causes some musical chairs in the Jersey pack, with summer signing
Kingsley Lang getting a rare start alongside Jim Brownrigg in the
second row, and Nick Trower assigned to some of Nathan's
ball-carrying duties, hopefully at even greater pace, from the
Number 8 berth. The changes see Graham Bell, and his shocking
moustache, move onto the flank and Steve O'Brien rotated to the
Otherwise Jersey are unchanged, with a backline that looks
pretty settled, at least until the likes of Ross Broadfoot, Nicky
Griffiths and Glenn Bryce are fit again or any further injuries
disrupt the present unit. Player-coach Ben Evans joins both
O'Briens and Tommy Turner on the bench, where there's also a place
for young forward Tim Corson, who'll hope to get a first league
appearance in front of his home support.
Tynedale in 2011/12
Tyne began an erratic campaign with a five-tries-to-four win over
Stourbridge, one of three successes in four games that also
included beating local rivals Blaydon.
The campaign then stuttered, including a surely unprecedented
hat-trick of home defeats spanning just 22 days, before the boost
of a 49-9 thrashing of the Bees.
Last weekend league leaders Ealing were at Tynedale Park and
just escaped with the spoils, by 29-24, after Tyne ended the match
pushing for a fifth try that would have earned at least a draw.
In common with Blaydon, Tynedale have close links with Newcastle
Falcons with a number of dual registered players. The
unpredictability of knowing when players may be required by their
senior paymasters was perhaps one reason, along with injuries, why
the team used around 50 players last season and have also seen
plenty of change from week to week this time around.
The fly-half position has been symptomatic of this difficulty.
Top points scorer Gavin Beasley (153 points from kicks plus
two tries in 2010/11) has yet to feature this season due to injury
and young star Joel Hodgson, an England age group fly-half, has
been required by the Falcons where he has to endure the burden of
the 'next Jonny Wilkinson' label. Matty Outson, at home in either
half-back position, wore the 10 shirt against Ealing but is himself
unavailable, so last week's full-back, William Massey, moves
Elsewhere in the backs look out for Hamish Smales, a flyer
speedy enough to have earned England Sevens' recognition and
captain Jack Harrison, who scored nine tries last season and opened
his team's account against Ealing last week. Full-back Chris Harris
is another summer signing who is also on the books at Newcastle. On
another day there could have been a Scotland Under 20s reunion, but
centre Harry Mountain joins Jersey's Glenn Bryce on the sidelines -
both have arm injuries. Last season's top try-scorer, Sepp Visser
with 23, is now playing for Boroughmuir in Edinburgh.
Tynedale's pack features a mix of experience from previous
campaigns and new faces. Flanker (and brother of Gavin) Grant
Beasley played 27 times last season and lock Richard Boyle, another
regular from last year, is available for the trip having also been
in contention at Newcastle thus far this season. The summer
signings also saw Tyne hunt down a bargain, with prop David
Dickinson joining from Morpeth (stop groaning at the back), while
the visitors' bench contains a player capped by his country at
Under 16, 18 and 20 level. Flanker Sam Northcote-Green was formerly
on the books of London Wasps and remains young enough - he's 19 -
to be a continued prospect for further representative rugby.
Tynedale - a potted history
The club were founded in 1876 and were one of the founder members
of the Northumberland Rugby Union four years later. In 1894 they
hosted the first-ever seven-a-side tournament in England.
The centenary of Tynedale RFC coincided with the move to the
present ground at Tynedale Park, and when league rugby began a
decade later, the club took their place in Thwaites North Division
After 13 seasons at the top tier of the regional game, Tyne made
the jump to the national level by storming to the North One title
in 1999/2000 by winning 22 straight games. They then spent eight
seasons at Level Four before promotion in 2007/08, and in the next
three seasons up to May 2011 finished fourth, fifth and fifth again
at Level Three.
Arguably Tyne's most famous former player is the Welshman Noel
Forbes Humphreys. Although he never played for his country, the
Bridgend-born stand-off was part of a Tynedale team that won 15
trophies in the decade leading up to the Great War, and was
selected for what is recognised as the first official British Lions
tour to South Africa in 1910. Humphreys fought as a Captain in the
Tank Corps (10th Battalion), was Mentioned in Despatches and
awarded the Military Cross. He was killed in action on 27th March
1918 and is commemorated at Etaples Military Cemetery near
Following the game
Don't forget that you can keep up-to-speed with news from Jersey v
Tynedale through the following channels:
• Preview on BBC Radio Jersey's 'Sportscene' from 6- 7pm on Friday,
and live commentary on Saturday afternoon
• Preview in Friday's JEP, and full match coverage on Monday
• Scoreflashes on @jerseyrfc Twitter and the 'Rolling Maul' rugby
• Match report on Channel 103 on Saturday afternoon, either just
before or just after 5pm depending on how many times the ref stops
• Highlights on Channel TV at 6.15pm on Monday, and online
Fiat Lux may sound like the latest motor from the continent on
which Gary 'sexy Italian style' Rousseau might offer you a good
deal. But it's also the Latin phrase for 'let there be light.'
Jersey v Tynedale will be the second-ever adult match played under
floodlights at St Peter, starting at 3pm, and it will be followed
two hours later by the third, as Jersey 2nds host LQ Lydian Lions
in a VerrasLaw JRA league game at 5pm.
If two live matches in one day doesn't sate your appetite for
rugby, there's no need to charter a plane to France for the Lyon
Olympique v Toulon Amlin Cup tie at 7.45pm, you can just start
earlier at St Peter: a Jersey A team consisting mainly of youth
players takes on the team from 'Jersey's warship' HMS Iron Duke, at
Why not come a chillout in the supporters marquee before the game, A fully stocked bar and food is available, seated and standing tables, on a first come first served basis and a great place to meet the Reds supporters.