Good Afternoon everyone and hope you are all having an enjoyable build up to Christmas. I would firstly like to thank Bill Locke for hosting The Presidents Lunch and hopefully we will all have a great day after a entertaining game of rugby.
The last 2 weeks have been a real test for Blaydon 1st xv in tricky conditions against some tough opposition. We firstly came up against Kendal in a rainy miserable day which perhaps was not best suited to our open rugby style of play. Even in these freezing wet conditions our boys still wanted to move the ball around and play their brand of rugby. Possibly the only difference was we did this much more in the oppositions territory rather from deep in our own half. Credit to the boys, they executed the game plan well, kicking for territory, turning the opposition and pressurising them hugely at Lineout time and with a formidable kick chase. This made Kendal make errors in their own half which we capitalised on, keeping possession for numerous phases and wearing the opponents down coming away with a convincing 31-15 bonus point win. This really pleased all the coaches because we showed real discipline to perform an unfamiliar game plan to a high level.
If we thought the weather was bad the week before, we had not yet seen what was waiting ahead for us at Kirkby Lonsdale. Welcome to a typical Cumbrian winters day. A day that could of been a potential loss for us was far from it. The lads were amazing and we could not of asked for more. All 18 players demanded hardwork, determination and generally putting your heads where most people would not put there hands. In horrendous conditions we beat Kirkby in every aspect of play from tactical kicking, to smashing defence, to unbelievably good ball handling with minimal errors. Six tries to nil and coming out 36-0 victors. The best performance from a Blaydon team in a long time. Kirkby aftermatch speaker saying they had not come up against a team like that in years, not been nilled at home in forever and a special mention to Alex Clark with 2 simply brilliant solo efforts. Well done lads.
I personally hope we can replicate these last performances today versus Alnwick and send the Blaydon faithful home for Xmas with smiles on there faces and 5 points in the bag.
So we are now half way through the season and start to replay our opposition. It is our pleasure therefore to welcome our friends Alnwick from Northumberland for what will be their first visit here for some years after being a regular fixture in pre league times. We had a difficult and hard fought victory at their home in early September and they will look today to gain their revenge with a victory against us. They have had a varied season so far but with 7 wins from 12 games are probably reasonably content with their overall form after their promotion to this league. We welcome their team and supporters and trust they enjoy their day at Crowtrees.
Last weekend saw us visit Kirkby Lonsdale for the first ever fixture between our Clubs, and after a day of incessant rain throughout the match secured a fine 36-0 victory. It was a happy bus on the way home with Blaydon Races ringing from Andrew Richardson’s music machine as we entered Swalwell
At this half way point we lie only one point behind second place Billingham, with the leaders Hull to be played at their ground in our first match in January. We have a regular away support now and it is a pleasure to have a strong group of supporting parents with us as well at every ground we visit.
The Christmas rest period will be well appreciated by the players of all sides as injuries continue to mount due to the intensity of the game that is now being played and our 1st team squad are no different but with strong competition within the squad and four consecutive victories Matt and the team are on a good run. Let’s hope it continues today.
I am grateful for an excellent attendance at our Xmas President’s Lunch today and particular thanks and a warm welcome go to our Match Sponsor Penny Petroleum and their guests. It is also a pleasure to have Smithy, or Ian Smith to some, with us today, the BBC Rugby commentator who does so much to promote Rugby in the North East. He has confirmed that our game today will be included on Sports Extra on Sunday and BBC Newcastle We also have tables from our past players, youth teams and parents and the Club will be buzzing once again.
We were surprised and delighted to see our past President and character Peter Graham at our Wilmslow game. He advised that he hasn’t come into more money and moved to that part of Manchester but had commuted from his home in Sri Lanka to see us !
Finally it only remains for me to wish all attendees a Merry Xmas and Happy New Year from all at Blaydon Rugby Club. We look forward to another exciting year and to welcome everyone back again.
A very warm welcome to our guests Kendal today. It is some year’s since we last played them and indeed this is our 1st game against Cumbrian opposition this season as we travel to Kirkby Lonsdale next weekend.
Both Clubs take pride in their former player Mark Wilson and his recent sterling performances for England. Its great to see national Rugby writers slowly having to appreciate that he should have been playing for England earlier and won more caps despite “only” playing for Newcastle Falcons
Kendal are an ambitious team who have benefitted from an input of cash which has enabled them to complete a fine Clubhouse that we look forward to visiting at the end of March. They are not having the best of seasons so far being placed 12th in the League with 3 wins, but this includes a fine home win over Wirral 8-3 last weekend which they will be hoping inspires them today.
We travelled to Wilmslow last week with a few absentees but thanks to a fine hattrick by Jack Appleton won 38-5 in a comfortable manner. There will be no room for complacency today however and we expect another hard fought game if we are to progress up the League towards Billingham and Hull.
Last week’s shock was Vale of Lune beating Billingham for their 1st victory which again confirms that their are no certainties in this League. Meanwhile our former player Harry Bate continues to shine for Blackheath who now lead National !. Could they make the championship ?
Glad to be on a decent pitch today after all the rain in recent days. Lets hope for more running rugby.
See you in two weeks at the Xmas Lunch and at the following Alnwick game. Make an effort to get down and bring a friend with you
Crow Trees, Hexham Road,
Swalwell, Newcastle Upon Tyne,
Tel: 0191 4200505