Blaydon 36, Sheffield Tigers 34

Blaydon left it more than just a ‘bit late’ to secure their 5 point win, winger James Cooney touching down with the final play of the game. Trailing by 3 points going into the last ten minutes they attacked incessantly only to be repelled by some desperate defence, the Sheffield side losing 2 players to the sin-bin in quick succession, and until a last minute penalty was kicked to the corner the opportunity to end a losing run looked to be beyond them.
The visitors struck first when they ran it up-field after Blaydon had collapsed a scrum and Henri Packard finished off in style. The lead was short lived however as home prop David Kilpatrick stormed into the opposition 22 to send in hooker Matt Thompson who held off 2 defenders to cross under the posts.
Back came Sheffield with a smart effort by man of the match James Broadley but this was quickly cancelled out by Blaydon winger Jack Appleton after good work by Nathan Bailey and Keith Laughlin. Thompson then completed his hat-trick with 2 close scores from driving mauls and a try bonus point had been secured by the 36th minute.
Leading 24-12 Blaydon were in the ascendancy only to concede a try to Broadley in the last play of the first half.
And then things went from bad to worse when within 3 minutes of the re-start lapses in concentration let in Peter Swatkins and Packard for Sheffield scores and in the 55th minute their scrum-half Ryan Holmes nipped over from a set-piece for a 6th try.
A 24-12 lead had now become 24-34 deficit but Blaydon responded well and went on to dominate the final quarter. A prolonged attack that went back and forth with some excellent handling looked to be ended when the ball went down. Scrum-half Andrew Miller reacted first, quickly securing possession to burst into the 22 for Rob Lenderyou to finish off and Ryan Foreman to land a 3rd conversion.
The late line-out ball was moved cross-field by Thompson, Foreman and Dan Marshall to send in Cooney for a 6th and winning try but it had been a mighty close thing.

John Brennan