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Colts Test Post

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Cinderford 12 – Blaydon 10

Blaydon’s revival with successive home victories came to a disappointing end when they failed to cope with the conditions and never looked like winning. Bottom of the table Cinderford, who recently parted company with their director of rugby following a string of poor results, managed the gale force wind much the better, especially in the second period when it was their turn to face the elements.

The home side got off to a perfect start when winger Nev Codlin, in his first game since re-joining the club, touched down in the corner after 3 minutes of pressure from the kick-off. For the next 25 minutes Blaydon were penned in their own half, unable to clear over half-way, but gradually broke out.

With the aid of a couple of penalties they worked the touchline and from a line-out in the 22 Jason Smithson was driven over for an equalising try, and at the break it was 5-5.

In theory Blaydon should then have controlled matters from the restart but the opposite occurred with the home side retaining possession for a substantial period, ending with former Blaydon centre Sam Hanks touching down for a try and Neville Sheedy adding the conversion.

Blaydon eventually got their act together and began to lay siege at the other end but time and time again took the wrong option, preferring to batter the line through the forwards and ignore an inviting overlap.

On 70 minutes the strategy finally worked when Smithson broke off from a short scrum to grab his second score. A conversion would have levelled the game but fly-half Brett Connon unluckily saw his effort shave an upright and Cinderford went on to record a win they badly needed.

John Brennan

Blaydon maintain winning form with another home victory – Blaydon 13, Rosslyn Park 0

For the second week in succession Blaydon took on high-flying visitors from London and again sent them packing with little to show for their efforts.

If the home defence was tremendous against Esher then yesterday it was simply magnificent. And it had to be for the visitors had an abundance of possession from start to finish with Blaydon permanently fighting a rear-guard action.

Going into the final 10 minutes they held a six points lead and then in the most glorious of endings worked their way up-field for Gavin Jones to touch down from a line-out drive.

It all began well enough with Brett Connon landing a 6th minute penalty but once Park got their hands on the ball it hardly left them for the rest of the half. It was backs to the wall but Blaydon survived, even when Rhodri Adamson was unluckily in the sin-bin.

The second period then turned out to be a carbon copy of the first with Connon putting over a second penalty 3 minutes in and then Park on non-stop attack.

Cracks finally began to appear in the visitors armoury and a couple of shoddy clearances directly into touch opened the door for Blaydon to cross half-way for the first time in the period.

They drove on towards the 22 and from a penalty award kicked for the corner to set up a rolling maul, whereupon Park infringed again. This time the line-out was much closer to the corner and a mighty roar went up when Jones went over.

Connon added the extras and Blaydon were 13 points up with not much time left. The visitors were visibly rattled (and who could blame them) and Blaydon went on to record a famous victory.

John Brennan

Coventry 38 – Blaydon 0

Blaydon are still without a win on their travels and not for the first time this season gained no reward for a lot of effort and for most of the game a more than equal share of possession.

Particularly in the first half they more than held  their own yet found themselves 9 points adrift, Matt Jones the Coventry fly-half successful with 3 penalty attempts.

The home side made better use of the conditions in the second period and racked up 12 points whilst Blaydon were a man down. Repeated scrummage offences had led to a yellow card being brandished but ironically to Robbie Morris a replacement prop who had been on the field for less than a minute.

The opening try for Coventry came from some good build-up which they spun wide for Uruguayan full-back Gaston Mieres, on debut after appearing in all 4 games for his Country in the recent World Cup, to finish off.

Winger Dom Lespierre then took advantage  of loose play to run in two more scores as Blaydon began to wilt. Jones converted all 3 efforts and added a penalty to take his personal tally to 18 points.

In the closing stages Devlin Hope, a replacement forward touched down from a maul to earn Coventry a try scoring bonus point.

On a day of few pluses for the  visitors fly-half Brett Connon had a fine game as did young scrum-half Ruaridh Dawson who only just arrived back in time from the Newcastle Falcons Friday night trip to Brives.

John Brennan

Blaydon 1s end their losing run

Blaydon  34 – Fylde  17

Blaydon’s long awaited second win of the season finally arrived but only after they had been caught stone cold by visitors Fylde  who ran up a 14-0 lead after just 4 minutes.

Their winger Oli Brennand, a particular ‘bête noire’ for Blaydon after scoring 4 tries in the previous encounter, jinked past two ineffectual tackles in the 2nd minute and barely had the dust settled than the other winger scooted clear to send in Chris Johnson.

It was not looking good but Blaydon rallied, Connon put over a penalty, and then came an astonishing turn of events.

 A Blaydon rolling maul was heading for the line when Fylde pulled it down giving referee Jack Makepeace no alternative but to award a penalty try and issue a yellow card to offending No8 David Frairbrother.

10 minutes later at a Fylde scrum their flanker Mark Goodman was sent off for foul play and Blaydon went straight downfield to form another driving maul. Same result: Fylde pulled it down and a penalty try was awarded. 

The game was transformed, Fylde were never again seen as an attacking force and at the break it was 17-17 with Blaydon everything to play for.

Scrum-half Ruaridh Dawson got them in front for the first time when from a penalty to the corner Fylde infringed again and he took a quick tap and shot over near the posts.

One-way traffic ensued as Blaydon overpowered the opposition at scrums and maul after maul until something had to give –  Fylde pulled down one scrum too many and prop Simon Griffiths became a 3rd card victim for them.

At the next short scrum No8 Gavin Jones settled matters by breaking off and  diving over to grab the bonus point try, and put an end to Blaydon’s terrible run of bad results.

Connon added the conversion, as he had to the earlier tries, and put the icing on the cake with a penalty to end what had been a tumultuous game.

John Brennan

Hull Ionians 28 – Blaydon 3

Another defeat for Blaydon, now 7 in a row, but not such a one-sided affair as the score-line might suggest.  They lead with an early penalty and were on top for the opening quarter and then in the second half for the final quarter.

Unfortunately however they failed to take their chances whereas Hull, also in a bad run with 3 defeats from the last 4, deservedly took theirs with some enterprising play.

Fly-half Brett Connon secured the points for Blaydon when the opposition strayed offside in front of their posts and it was not until the 27th minute that the first of 4 tries was conceded.

Lock-forward Ed Falkingham slipped a tackle in Hulls’ first incursion into the Blaydon 22 to cross near the posts with scrum-half Isaac Green adding the extras. Seven minutes later Falkingham was over again, this time collecting a fortuitous bounce from a kick ahead, Green once more on target to make it 14-3 at the interval.

Hull then had their best spell of the game, often putting a number of good phases together to open up the Blaydon defence and run in 2 more scores and Green to make it 100% with his conversion kicks.

No8 Phil Eccleston went in down the right from a spell of pressure and winger Sam Wilson completed the scoring with a break down the other side to cut back in and race clear from 30 metres.

The game ended as it had begun with Blaydon on top but their day was typified when skipper Keith Laughlin stormed downfield only to knock-on with the line beckoning.

John Brennan

Blaydon 33 – Plymouth Albion 38

An entertaining game with lots of tries and bonus points all round but for all their efforts Blaydon are still looking for another win since the opening day of the season.

Back-rower Jason Smithson did his best with a hat-trick of tries, two from driving line-outs plus a neat little dummy,  but his side still trailed for most of the game and when the late rally arrived the game had already gone.

Tom Grimes, in his second appearance back from serious injury, put Blaydon ahead for the only time when he finished off a smart move initiated by a break from Nathan Bailey, only for Plymouth to quickly regain control.

Billy Searle, a replacement scrum-half on the bench, found himself promoted when the fly-half was injured in the warm-up and was a constant threat, twice opening up the Blaydon defence to run in tries.

Tom Bedford, a former Newcastle Falcon, and Nile Dacres added further scores before the break but Smithson meanwhile had twice done the business for Blaydon and at the interval it was 21-28 and everything to play for.

Ethan Ford, with the benefit of what most thought was a forward pass, crossed for a 5th Plymouth score but home skipper Keith Laughlin barged over from a close range ruck, Brett Connon landing an excellent 4th conversion, and going into the closing stages Blaydon were 7 points adrift at 28-35.

Tom Putt was equally proficient with the boot for the visitors and added a penalty to his 5 conversions but Smithson had the final word with his 5th try of the season to guarantee Blaydon a second bonus point.

John Brennan

Richmond 19 – Blaydon 10

Despite again finishing on the wrong side of the score-line Blaydon showed great improvement, leading at half-time by 10 points to nil and they had the chances to finish it off in the second period.

Brett Connon got them off to a perfect start with a 2nd minute penalty when the home side strayed offside in front of their posts, and increased pressure soon resulted in a try. A penalty to the corner and good possession at the line-out was turned into a rolling maul and a trademark score in the corner for prop forward Sam White.

The lead was held to the interval although Richmond were guilty of failing to convert a simple penalty opportunity.

Blaydon were just as remiss early in the second period when they failed to capitalise on another line-out drive that should have brought reward.  

Man-of -the-match Andy Hall, a replacement fly-half, pulled back 3 points with a penalty and then poor tackling by Blaydon let in Richmond flanker Adam Lee who escaped down the wing for a try in the corner.

Hall failed with the conversion attempt but succeeded with a ‘monster’ penalty from half-way, and rubbed salt into Blaydon’s wounds with a solo effort try after avoiding more poor tackles, and then another late penalty.

Blaydon still had time for a catch and drive but failed again and the game was gone and an encouraging performance had brought no reward.

John Brennan

Blaydon 22 – Hartpury College 28

In the end it was a 4th consecutive defeat for Blaydon but going into the closing minutes there were only 3 points between the sides and it could have gone either way. Disappointingly  a number of handling errors let them down, the impetus was lost, and Gareth Thompson the Hartpury full-back clinched the result with a last minute penalty.

It was Thompson who opened the scoring with an early penalty before Jim Stephenson went over from a short scrum. Brett Connon responded with a penalty when the visitors collapsed a scrum but a scrum at the other end resulted in Blaydon conceding a second try when they were pushed off their own ball.

Replacement hooker David Nelson made an immediate impact when he broke in style from half-way to release the winger and was then on hand to stretch over and secure the try.

At the break it was 8-15 but Blaydon soon drew level with the first of a brace of indentical scores by flanker Jason Smithson. The visitors collapsed yet another scrum and from the penalty to the corner the Blaydon pack marched on at some speed for Smithson to benefit and Connon to convert.

Hartpury restored their advantage with a slick effort from winger Elliott Creed but back came Blaydon with the tried and trusted rolling maul. Smithson and Connon again combined to take it to 22-25, and it was anybody’s game.

But all to no avail, Thompson put it beyond doubt and Blaydon had to make do with a losing bonus point.

John Brennan