Blaydon 38 Loughborough Students 66

What a game ! It had everything, 104 points, 15 tries, 5 yellow cards – both sides receiving 2 in the space of a minute, a brace of tries from both hookers, and non-stop action for 80 minutes.
The visitors threatened to take the game by storm right from the whistle only to be reduced to 13 men allowing Blaydon to move ahead, but still took a 1 point lead into the interval. Blaydon with 3 second-half tries regained a 38-32 lead but when they in turn went down to 13 a penalty try was awarded and in the final quarter the Students ran riot.
Riccardo Brugnara scored the Loughborough opener on 2 minutes, Chris Wearmouth responding on 10 after great work by the home pack which had established an early advantage in the scrums. A string of penalties were conceded and Blaydon capitalised with 2 tries, his first and second for the club by young hooker Jack Beckwith. By the break Kehinde Olowofela and Isaac Sharp had touched down for the visitors but it was neck and neck at that stage.
“We started the second half reasonably well” said director of rugby Micky Ward, “but that period when we were down to 13 men just killed us. They scored 2 tries from driving mauls which was not acceptable, we cannot let that continue”.
Within 2 minutes of the restart skipper Keith Laughlin was in under the posts after a lightning raid down the left only for Miller and Harry Simmons to give Loughborough a 6 points advantage.
Not for long however as Trevor Davison from second phase possession following a penalty to the corner and then Gavin Jones with a similar effort put Blaydon 6 points clear.
And then came the disaster, Jones and Laughlin off for 10 minutes and the visitors taking full advantage with 3 more late tries, Blaydon not helping themselves with some poor clearances that were run straight back at them by the livelier student three-quarters, and in the end only had the consolation of a try scoring bonus point.

John Brennan