12:00am Monday 17th February 2014
By Tim Wellock
BEN Frankland's astonishing run of scoring failed agonisingly to lift Tynedale out of the National One relegation places on Saturday.
The centre's habit of joining the pack saw him add two more tries to the seven he had scored in the previous three games, but an injury time try allowed leaders Doncaster to snatch a 29-26 win.
There were grave doubts about whether the pitch was fit, but once it had been decided to allow Doncaster to travel they were always likely to back their forward to win in a mudbath.
But they had reckoned without Tynedale's ninth forward as Frankland's brace earned a 19-11 interval lead. The hosts were also awarded two penalty tries, so at least they earned two bonus points to move alongside Henley in third bottom place.
They are at home to the Thames Valley club in the final match, which could prove crucial, but first they will want to win their rearranged match away to Loughborough Students this week.
Frankland, 23, is a Newcastle Falcons academy product who joined Tynedale from Westoe as a flanker. His switch to centre at the start of last season was intended to be temporary as he covered for injured players, but he has remained in midfield and joins the pack when they are driving for the line.
He scored all four tries in last month's home win against Blackheath and said: "Most of the work comes from the forwards and each time I've been there to finish it off. It's become our unofficial move."
Frankland scored after nine and 22 minutes on Saturday, but Doncaster capitalised on an error inbetween and added two penalties to trail only 12-11.
The first penalty try, converted by Gavin Beasley, came just before half-time, but Doncaster kicked two more penalties then former Blaydon centre Matt Clark was allowed space to romp over.
Tynedale rallied and their pressure forced the visitors into conceding two yellow cards plus the second penalty try. But flanker Michael Hills scored the winning try in the last move of the game.
Blaydon's match at Henley was postponed, as was Darlington Mowden Park's trip to Sheffield Tigers, allowing Stourbridge to take over at the top with a 38-0 win at home to Leicester Lions.
Stourbridge now appear to be in better form than the other promotion candidates, Macclesfield, whose Director of Rugby, Geoff Wappett, was ordered off during the 26-3 win away to bottom club Dudley Kingswinford.
He was told to leave the technical area during the first half, allegedly for using abusive language, and was ordered off altogether late in the game as winless Dudley forced Macclesfield to concede a string of penalties.
The Cheshire club are now level on points with Mowden, with Stourbridge two points ahead, having played a game more.
Westoe ended their four-match losing run when their switch to the Harton Technical College pitch allowed them to stage one of only two matches to go ahead in National Three North.
They beat Beverley 36-34, being forced to hang on after leading 31-8 with 20 minutes left as the visitors' Pacific Island centres, Tomasi Tanumi and Junior Tupai began to run amok.
They scored two tries each but Tanumi failed with the final conversion, wheich would have levelled the scores.
Flanker Joe McKenzie was heavily involved in Westoe's first two tries as Andrew Lawson grabbed the first of his brace and Chris Jordan also touched down. The other tries came from No 8 Scott Powell, prop Richard Arrowsmith and Chris Laycock.
Most of the postponed matches lower down the leagues will be fitted into the reseve day this week, although Middlesbrough will have to wait to entertain Morpeth, who already have a rearranged match against Sheffield.
It's a similar story for Darlington, whose scheduled visitors, Bishop Auckland, have to go to Novos in a match they will be desperate to win if they are to have any chance avoiding the drop from Durham and Northumberland One Horden stretched their lead at the top to 12 points when their pitch passed a 10am inspection and they beat Stockton 45-3.
They scored an early try and Stockton, with seven changes from the original selection, replied with a penalty by Dan Phinn.
The score was still 5-3 after 20 minutes but Horden suddenly took control with four tries in ten minutes to make the half-time score was 31-3.
Northallerton retained their mid-table position in Yorkshire Three when they won 27-3 at home to Harrogate Pythons with Martin Dennison scoring two tries
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