1st Team News
Blaydon will play Luctonians away on 27th April, winner takes the final promotion spot to National Two North
It has been a long season and here we are at the last home league game. I hope it has been as an enjoyable one for you as it has been for me.
Getting our brand new AGP has really been a game changer for the way Blaydon as a whole play and train. A big thank you must go out to the RFU and everyone involved in the process of getting it to the Crowtrees. For me it has allowed us to play a brand of rugby that is enjoyable for the spectators as well as the players as shown by a record number of try’s scored this season and we are still going.
Another pleasing aspect to this season is the huge development of the players joining and coming through. Some mentions have to go out to Alex Clark who I met for a coffee to try and convince him Blaydon was the place for him to play his rugby. He was a little apprehensive to begin with as he did not know if he was up to the standard but he really has developed into a cracking player and is pivotal to our very exciting backline. Alex Dodds is another who has pleased me with his work ethic on and off the rugby field. His willingness to learn has seen him play many times for the 1st XV and is looking like a great asset for the future. Rob Lenderyou has come on leaps and bounds from first joining the Club developing into a future leader with an outstanding skill set.
It was brilliant for the club to have two International rugby players in Anthony Harvey (Malta) and Andrew Steinberg (Latvia) recognised. Well done lads.
We have also a great amount of blaydon youth players who have come through overtime and after a hard last two seasons have really learnt a lot and grown into exciting rugby players hopefully for many years to come. Such players as Cam Bell, Liam Wright, Jack Davidson, Matt Charlton, Frazer Wilson, Nathan Horsfall, Hugh Mongan, Dan Taylor, Alex Charlton, Matthew Jenkinson, Nathan Bailey, Jack Appleton and Dan Marshall as well as many others. Our defence coach and Captain Keith has coached and led the team tremendously all year and am hoping he decides to continue for at least one more season as he has been outstanding.
This then leads me into a special mention to our centurion today, James Cooney. Although he constantly drives to the club even though he lives 100 yards door to door he is ever present and brings so much enthusiasm and energy at training and game day. James is a future Blaydon captain for certain. He is a pleasure to have at the club and hope to have him for another 100 games in the future.
Finally I would like to welcome Kirkby to Crowtrees. Our away fixture was in my opinion our best performance all season in very testing conditions. Hopefully we can match that performance and result this Saturday and get one step closer to a playoff place.
A warm welcome to one and all in this our last home game of this season.
I am sure you will agree we have seen some magnificent tries and it has been a real boost to win so many games after two successive relegations. Congratulations to all those players who have entertained us so well and lets hope it continues to the very end of the season.
In total we have scored 132 tries including last weekend at Kendal. Of these 78 were from the backs and 51 from the forwards with 1 penalty try.
The leading try scorers( as provided by John Brennan) are as follows;
- Dan Marshall 23
- Jack Appleton 15
- Keith Laughlin 13
- Nathan Bailey 12
- Cam Bell 7
By comparison Morgan Passman of Tynedale leads National 2 North with 28, and Craig Holland of Chinnor with 22 in National 1.
Our total of points scored at 884 is less than some earlier years but I believe we will have surpassed our highest tries scored
Today we welcome Kirkby Lonsdale and their supporters and I know we will give them the courtesy of a fine welcome as they did when we went there in early December where we played in incessant rain throughout. Its all very well celebrating our past performances but we will have to again be at our best to overcome difficult opposition today who have beaten Wirral and Billingham in the last 3 weeks
Much can happen in all leagues in terms of promotion and relegation before the end of the season and it will be fascinating to see who goes up and who goes down.
I expect a number oy you may wish to go to the Vale of Lune next week but there will not be additional places on the Bus, and thus those who do wish to attend, and I hope it is as many as possible, must make their own transport arrangements.
Have a good summer !
I am grateful to Jim Huxley for the following helpful synopsis of the present state of play on Promotion Run In: http://www.blaydonrfc.co.uk/promotion-run-in/
Blaydon are now approaching the last two return matches of the season against Kirkby Lonsdale at home (H) and Vale of Lune away (A) and below is my summary of the situation in North Premier, also a review should we come in second place, on our likely opponents in the play-off. This would take place on Saturday 27th April.
Our first two results against our remaining opponents shows Blaydon winning 36-0 and 92-12 respectively and a repeat of two 5 point scores would do the job!
Currently Hull are top having already achieved promotion to National 2 North some weeks ago and Blaydon are battling it out with Billingham and Harrogate for 2nd place, however, Billingham’s loss last week to Alnwick, gives them a difficult task particularly as their opponents this weekend are champions Hull. The team finishing 2nd will play the similar placed team in the Midlands Division (more of that later).
The outstanding fixtures are:
- 6th April:
- BLAYDON v KIRKBY LONSDALE (H) who are safe.
- HARROGATE v ILKLEY (H) who are safe but a local derby.
- BILLINGHAM v HULL (H) who are champions.
- 13th April:
- VALE OF LUNE v BLAYDON (A) Vale already relegated.
- HARROGATE v SANDAL (H) a Yorkshire derby.
- BILLINGHAM v LYMM (H) who may still need points.
Upon reflection, we are in the driving seat for the play-off place but there is still some way to go.
The play-off will almost certainly be away to whichever Midlands side finishes second as the Midlands’ sides have better ‘win’ records than any in the Northern Group and therefore unless Luctonians have a dip in form, lose in the last 2 games and finish 2nd, Midlands team will have home advantage.
Currently Scunthorpe, after a recent patch of poor results, have come good and are 2 points clear of Luctonians but the Hereford side are currently going well and returning massive victories.
The outstanding fixtures in this division are as follows:
- 6th April:
- SCUNTHORPE v BRIDGENORTH (H) currently 4th.
- LUCTONIANS v DONCASTER PHOENIX (H) currently 8th in the table.
- 13th April:
- BROADSTREET v SCUNTHORPE (A) currently 5th in the table.
- LITCHFIELD v LUCTONIANS (A) Litchfield currently 12th.
On paper, Luctonians seemingly have the easier run-in but need Scunthorpe to either lose a match or achieve no bonus points to overtake them on goal difference. It is all in the melting pot and a lot could still happen if, and I say if, we were to finish in second place the game will be played on Saturday 27th April with either a long travel on the Friday night to play at Luctonians or an easier journey to Scunthorpe on the Saturday morning.
Either way, it will not be easy and of course we still have to get the right results in our final fixtures to finish 2nd in our league and it must be pointed out that Kirkby Lonsdale recently defeated Billingham 17 – 5 in a re-arranged game.
Blaydon and Harrogate both take maximum points in the play off race, while Billingham lose at Alnwick with 2 games to go.
Midland Premier – Luctonians still in 2nd place
Blaydon secure maximum points and move ahead of Harrogate who beat leaders Hull and with Billingham taking maximum points at Vale of Lune, the playoff spot is still a 3 horse race with Blaydon needing to secure maximum points from their last 3 games to ensure they finish in that spot.
How a fortnight can change everything. We recently travelled to Ilkley on what looked to be a horrible wet and windy day, but in true Yorkshire style it turned out to be a lovely day to play rugby at an even better setting. Ilkleys new club house and pitch was one of the best I have visited and we were warmly welcomed.
The game was a hard fought affair. Blaydon got off to a tremendous start with Frazer Wilson finishing off a well executed 3v2. After such a positive start we stuttered struggling to keep possession for any threatening period of time.
Defending immensely well kept us in the lead and the one time we put phases together Jack Appleton scores a wonderful team try. We eventually came out winners, Ilkley denying us the bonus point win. A hard fought four points but they game had its casualties with Nathan Bailey breaking his hand and needing an operation on it which will keep him out for the season. All the best for your recovery.
We had a week off last week but others around us did not. Billingham travelling to Kirby on a horrible day saw them complain how the game was allowed to go ahead and saw them defeated 17-5. When we travelled there on an equally horrible Blaydon players rallied around and won 36-0. The first time they had been beaten at home for a very long time. That was Blaydon’s best performance of the season and our mindset was superb that day.
This weekend we welcome Wilmslow who are finding this season difficult in the lower half of the league. We must though come with a mindset that match Kirby Lonsdale away game to get the better of them today. They recently put 47 points on A very good Wirral team showing they are a dangerous outfit that can beat anyone on their day.
I hope to see lots of faces cheering us on today then hopefully in the bar to watch Falcons take on Sale at St James in a huge match. Let’s hope they can get one step closer to a great escape.
One game at a time for Blaydon though.
Crow Trees, Hexham Road,
Swalwell, Newcastle Upon Tyne,
Tel: 0191 4200505