Blaydon 14, Cambridge 17


At half-time Blaydon were leading by 2 converted tries to nil but would have reflected that with all their possession and territory and opportunities created they could have been out of sight and with an important win in the bag. Nevertheless the second half was still there for the taking, but somehow it all went wrong.
A Cambridge side that had previously only twice managed to reach the home 22 were suddenly a different proposition. Their policy of running everything at last paid off, with Blaydon giving assistance by infringing regularly, and by the end had run in 3 tries of their own and finished deserved winners.
“14 points up at half-time we thought we would go on and win but we just made a couple of mistakes, they scored and then we missed a tackle straight from the re-start” said Micky Ward, “We had lots of chances to win it, it was 3 points lost. Our forwards didn’t perform at their best, the driving maul was nowhere near where it should be”.
It could not have started better for Blaydon with an opening try on 1 minute and 30 seconds. Quick line-out ball was moved out, James Cooney shot through a gap to splinter the defence and send in Ruaridh Dawson for a simple score. Brett Connon added the points and the stage was set.
Dawson was almost in again after charging down a clearance, numerous other chances went begging and it took until the 29th minute before the second breakthrough, and ironically it came from a first Cambridge visit to the 22. They were easily dispossessed allowing Cooney to again break up-field at speed and for Baggett to finish it off at the other end and Connon again add the extras.
Early in the second period Blaydon were awarded a penalty in front of the posts about 30 metres out which on another day they might have kicked to the corner. The kick went wide and that was to be it for Blaydon’s domination.
Two tries in 2 minutes by winger Albert Portsmouth reduced the Cambridge deficit to just 2 points and then they won a penalty in front of the posts. They too could have gone for the kick, which would have given them the lead, but opted instead for a scrum from which they moved it along the line for Lawrence Hutchinson to touch down the winning try.

John Brennan