Blaydon 34 – Wharfedale 27

Blaydon put their poor recent form well behind them with a try bonus point win over near league rivals Wharfedale but it could have been an even better out- come.

Trailing by 34-15 going into the last 2 minutes of normal time the visitors grabbed an unconverted try but were still 7 points short of a bonus point. Then in the final play of time added on they were awarded a penalty try when Blaydon collapsed a short scrum, the only occasion in the game when the home pack had been in trouble.

And this after Blaydon at one point had been so dominant in the set-piece that Wharfedale prop Jake Armstrong was sin-binned for a similar offence and yet the referee allowed it to be re-set 4 times for collapsing before losing patience.

Those 2 bonus points could yet prove invaluable for Wharfedale in the battle at the lower end of the league, and they still have a game in hand of Blaydon.

Former Blaydon fly-half Jamie Guy opened the scoring with an early penalty for the visitors but Blaydon with their forwards well on top soon secured a first try when Robbie Kalbraier finished off a line-out move.

Andrew Baggett added the extras and then a penalty, and from another catch and drive assault on the Wharfedale line flanker Harry Bate went over. Home domination continued and when second-rower Will Welsh crossed with ease 4 minutes into the second period to make it 20-3 Wharfedale’s chances looked bleak.

Somehow they got themselves back into it with a fortuitous effort by Cameron Hudson but Blaydon’s penalty try made it 27-8 and a try bonus.
Wharfedale scored again when right-wing Lloyd Davies scraped over in the corner but that was soon cancelled out when Craig Willis with a smart dummy added home try number 5 and Baggett the conversion.

And so into the dramatic closing minutes and what would have deserved to be a comfortable 5 point home win became an undeserved life-line for the visitors.

John Brennan