The weather relented, the opposition were playing their first game back in National League One, and it all looked set fair for Blaydon. For 99% of the first half and then the early stages of the second, they had a massive advantage in the scrums, plenty of possession and a good number of chances.
Sadly it all went to waste, final passes consistently going to ground and by midway through the second period the visitors assumed control to pull off a convincing win, and to pour more salt on Blaydon’s wounds most of the damage was done by old boy Harry Bate.
A philosophical director of rugby Micky Ward described it as a ‘huge disappointment’, adding “I thought in the first half we should have been two scores up, and just after half-time we didn’t take our chances”
Most of the chances referred to came just before the interval when the visitors infringed 3 times in quick succession and each time Blaydon kicked to the corner looking to apply their trademark rolling maul. But not this time, Albanians defended manfully and when Blaydon let the next one out a pass went down and up field they went for Bate to storm over just as he used to in a Blaydon shirt.
Home fly-half Brett Connon got his side on the score-sheet with a penalty but there was precious little else on offer as the resistance fizzled out, and the visitors just got stronger and stronger.
Bate repeated his first-half effort with three defenders unable to bring him down, replacement Ali Crossdale scored the try of the game, weaving in and out the home defence, and Albanians finished it off in the corner with a bonus point try.