Blaydon 22 – Hartpury College 28

In the end it was a 4th consecutive defeat for Blaydon but going into the closing minutes there were only 3 points between the sides and it could have gone either way. Disappointingly  a number of handling errors let them down, the impetus was lost, and Gareth Thompson the Hartpury full-back clinched the result with a last minute penalty.

It was Thompson who opened the scoring with an early penalty before Jim Stephenson went over from a short scrum. Brett Connon responded with a penalty when the visitors collapsed a scrum but a scrum at the other end resulted in Blaydon conceding a second try when they were pushed off their own ball.

Replacement hooker David Nelson made an immediate impact when he broke in style from half-way to release the winger and was then on hand to stretch over and secure the try.

At the break it was 8-15 but Blaydon soon drew level with the first of a brace of indentical scores by flanker Jason Smithson. The visitors collapsed yet another scrum and from the penalty to the corner the Blaydon pack marched on at some speed for Smithson to benefit and Connon to convert.

Hartpury restored their advantage with a slick effort from winger Elliott Creed but back came Blaydon with the tried and trusted rolling maul. Smithson and Connon again combined to take it to 22-25, and it was anybody’s game.

But all to no avail, Thompson put it beyond doubt and Blaydon had to make do with a losing bonus point.

John Brennan