Despite a valiant Cambridge comeback, Tynedale went away from Wests Renault Park with a win for the second season in a row as Allen Rogersâ€™ 79th minute try sealed the points.
Director of rugby Bob Crooks said â€śI donâ€™t think we deserved anything. That was probably, attitudinally, one of the worst first half performances weâ€™ve put together- flat, nothing there; we lacked leadership, we lacked go-forward, but I spoke to them at half-time about a few bits and pieces so I was really pleased with the second half for the most part because we played more of our game, we controlled possession, were more physical, we carried better and competed more on their ball, then weâ€™d won the game â€“ but we must have given away 20 sets of possession. We put pressure on them, then went ahead, and showed great character, but we didnâ€™t react well for that last score.â€ť
The Blood & Sands, down to bare bones as injuries took their toll, were behind from the 6th minute, when Rogers opened the scoring after the marauding Sepp Visser put the winger in at the corner. England U18 international Joel Hodgson converted.
Although the fly-half missed a relatively easy penalty four minutes later, he made amends in the 22nd minute from 20 metres out as the hosts transgressed in a major rearguard action.
Tom Wheatcroft immediately edged Cambridge back into the game with a 40 metre penalty of his own, but when Jaco Du Toit lost the ball on the home 22, Hamish Smales capitalised to dart over to give Hodgson a simple conversion.
Grant Beasley was in the sin bin by that point, having used foul means to stop Darren Fox, but another Wheatcroft penalty was all Cambridge had to show for their numerical advantage before half-time.
Another Hodgson penalty stretched the visitors lead in the second period, but Fox picked up from his unaccustomed number eight berth to put Billy Robinson in under the posts, with Wheatcroftâ€™s extras putting Cambridge within reach.
Visser, robust and skilful throughout, hacked on and finished easily in the 56th minute to stretch the Tynedale lead, but it served only to sting Cambridge into a monumental fight-back.
Will Martin stayed strong, ran hard, rode three tackles and touched down for his sideâ€™s second.
Hodgsonâ€™s 64th minute penalty, awarded for crossing in the centres, was a blip at this point.
Greg White battered his way over for Cambridgeâ€™s third, with replacement scrum-half Ben Spencer adding the extras.
Jack Harrisonâ€™s yellow card for a technical offence with 8 minutes left heralded another rally, and Jaco Du Toit scampered over for the bonus point try and 30-30 five minutes from time.
With a two-point lead from Spencerâ€™s second successful conversion, all Cambridge had to do was close the game out, but a catastrophic error from a line-out close to the home red zone allowed Rogers to steer the ball towards the try line with his boot and touch down for the winner.
Hodgsonâ€™s two-pointer made the game safe and capped a superlative performance.
Cambridge Sponsors Man of the Match - Billy Robinson
Referee - Wayne Falla
Attendance - 400
Match stats (Cambridge shown first)
Penalties conceded: 7-13
Line-outs won: 10-3
Line-outs lost: 1-0
Scrums won: 12-10
Scrums lost: 2-1
Sin bin: 0-2
Cambridge: Robinson, Martin, White, Ellis, Du Toit, Wheatcroft (Kelsall 61), D Hunter (Spencer); B Cooper II (Reeves 17), Pearl, B Cooper, Ascroft-Leigh, McComb, B Hunter, Mayhew, Fox
Replacements: McFarlane, Reeves, Baxter, Kelsall, Spencer
Tynedale: Visser, Ingall (Cole 75), Harrison, Smales, Rogers, Hodgson, Peck (Outson 70); Williams, J Graham, Jupp, Irvin, Boyle, Maddison (Rastall 62), Beasley, Shires
Replacements: Cole, Outson, Southern, D Graham, Rastall
Full time 32-37 Half time 6-17
Tries: Robinson 53, Martin 61 White 69, Du Toit 76
Conversions: Wheatcroft 54, Spencer 70, 77
Penalties: Wheatcroft 23, 40+6
Tries: Rodgers 6, 79 , Smales 40+2, Visser 56
Conversions: Hodgson 7, 40+3, 57, 80
Penalties: Hodgson 21, 43, 64
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