Blaydon 32, Old Albanians 19

Blaydon got back to winning ways with what in the end was a comfortable victory but the visitors, who generally could find no way through a resolute defence, had a happy knack of closing the gap.

Old Albanians had an abundance of possession in the early stages but their attacks were repeatedly snuffed out by some brilliant tackling and it was Blaydon who opened the scoring on 25 minutes.

A sniping break by James Christie took them into the 22 and from a line-out Chris Wearmouth was driven over. The lock-forward was at it again to apply the finishing touch after Tom Jeffery with a devastating run and then Christie with another dart had taken it to the line.

At 12-0 it was so far so good but right on the interval and against the run of play Albanians winger Mike Allan was put clear to score in the corner. Then within 90 seconds of the restart the visitors kicked a penalty to the corner and when the line-out was palmed down scrum-half Jack Daly nipped in near the posts.

The scores were level but Blaydon quickly regained the ascendancy from another catch and drive, to which the visitors never found the answer, when young Matthew Jenkinson in his debut game got the touch-down.

An Andrew Baggett penalty stretched the lead and when the visitors were pushed off their own scrum ball in the 22 the fly-half was over in a flash for the bonus point try.
That should have been that but back came Old Albanians with 8 minutes remaining to again get within range at 25-19 with a Nick Stevens try.

A potential upset was now a possibility but Blaydon finally finished them off when Nathan Bailey joined the line to crash over in the dying seconds.

John Brennan