Blaydon 17, Plymouth 38

Whilst the unflattering score-line might suggest a comprehensive defeat, this was most certainly not the case. Blaydon had the territorial advantage in the first half which ended with them leading by 7-3. This they increased with a second try soon after the restart, and twice were on the verge of further scores when they were robbed of possession and could only watch in horror as the visitors raced clear to cross the home line.
In the end it was probably down to superior fitness, Plymouth are a top four side who train nearly full-time, and Blaydon can take mutch from the defeat.
A disappointed director of rugby Micky Ward said “I’m absolutely gutted for the lads. I thought the way they applied themselves for the first 50 minutes was outstanding, 17 points apiece and pressing on their line we just mistimed a couple of things and they broke away”.
The first half was eminently forgettable, Blaydon failing to turn territory into points despite spending long periods on the Plymouth line, and it was not until the brink of half-time that No8 Jason Smithson nipped in under the posts from a short scrum.
Three minutes into the second period Max Connon made a decisive break to send in winger Dan Marshall in fine style and Blaydon may have taken their foot off the accelerator. Plymouth certainly woke up, and from that point onwards were a different team, their powerful backs running at every opportunity. Two tries in 4 minutes by Robin Wedlake-Millecam and Matt Shepherd put them in front but back came Blaydon to level when scrum-half Ruaridh Dawson stormed into the 22.
And then came the killer blow, the turning point. Blaydon marched good line-out possession 30 metres and deep into the Plymouth 22, let it out with the line in sight and were almost over when the ball was lost. The visitors broke from their own line at speed with Shepherd showing a clean pair of heels from half-way.
In a flash the game was gone, Plymouth adding a bonus point try through William Naughton and then a 5th by Dan Powell with the final play.

John Brennan