As expected, Rossendale proved a handful and the game was a close encounter which was much like our first way back in October.   Whenever opened up a lead, the visitors immediately replied with with still 15 minutes remaining, Blaydon’s three point lead looked precarious but unlike previous matches our game plan was to get into the opposition’s 22 and see out time.   A task which Blaydon achieved as the opposition visibly tired.
Early exchanges were controlled by the home side this, despite losing prop Daz Fearn with a shoulder injury which saw him retire from play and eventually after 20 minutes scrum half Sam Stuart, soon himself to go off injured and take no further part in the match, put in Elliot Beattie from 30 metres ( he tells me) but probably nearer 12, over between the posts for the former player to add the points.
The home side continued to hold the initiative despite good work by the visiting pack and eventually winger Jack Appleton capitalised on a poor bit of visiting play and shot between two players to add to Blaydon’s score with an unconverted try.  Soon after, however, thing were to change and on only their second visit to the Blaydon half, prop Dan Rylance barged over after good forward play for fly half Lewis Allen to kick the first of his three conversions.
Half time arrived with a 12 – 7 scoreline and everything to play for and sure enough it was enterprising visiting back play which saw winger Tom Waring (also soon to leave the field of play) score an excellent try and Allen converted to put Rossendale two points in front.
Blaydon however were not dismayed and patient patterns of play eventually saw hooker Frazer Wilson and James Cooney combine from the half way line for the former to put Blaydon in front, a lead which they never lost with replacement Ryan Foreman adding the extras with an excellent touchline kick.
Immediately from the re-start, a 60 metre handling movement saw Wilson again, this time combining with Alex Charlton to outpace the visiting defence again on the right hand side and Jack Appleton finished off in style for his second try of the match to widen the gap to 10 points.   However, the marauding visiting pack had other ideas and their outstanding No. 8 Dominic Moon drove over for a converted try to immediately reduce the arrears only for Dan Marshall to thread through on the hour for his first try since before Christmas.   Sloppy play in the backs on their own 22 allowed Chris Mayor to gratefully take possession and shoot over for an unconvered try and narrow the gap to 3 points with 15 minutes remaining.   Squeeky bum time!!
However, Blaydon kicked off and continued to run down the clock in the last 15 minutes from inside the visiting 22.   At this stage the visitors were visibly tiring and not able to mount any worthwhile attacks and in the final seconds Ryan Foreman gratefully kicked a late penalty to widen Blaydon’s victory.
Both sides would wonder at the scoreline – Rossendale for not appearing in the first half and Blaydon during this period wasting several good opportunities.   In the end the home side triumphed in a game which last year they would have lost.
Next week we travel to Lymm who are comfortably lying in mid table and like us have an AGP.


This week’s results see no change in the league top three but Billingham, who lost again and have not won since Christmas, have now dropped down to 5th place by virtue of Sandal leapfrogging them into 4th place.