Blaydon 26 Loughborough Students 27
When leading try-scorer Jason Smithson touched down his 3rd score of the second period to put Blaydon 4 points in front with just 7 minutes remaining a third consecutive home win looked to be on the cards. Loughborough however had other ideas and quickly got back onto the attack, threw out a long pass to the fastest man on the field, winger Rotimi Segun, who scooted clear to secure the narrowest of victories for his side.
With 4 tries in the bag and a close defeat Blaydon at least had the consolation of two bonus points but for much of the game had played second fiddle to a lively Students side, and had rarely found a gap with ball in hand.
They got off to a disappointing start, conceding a soft try in the 2nd minute from a poor clearance and never really picked up. Scrum half-Nathen Horsall got them in front against the run of play when he nipped in from the second of two short scrums, Andrew Baggett converting but by the interval the visitors were ahead 7-15 thanks to a Matt McPherson try.
Soon after the restart the Students committed the first of many transgressions and were punished accordingly, Blaydon’s penalty to the corner being followed by an unstoppable line-out drive. Loughborough quickly retaliated with a forward try of their own through their No8 Matt Rogerson but Smithson was not to be denied.
On 64 minutes he was in again from close range, Baggett converting, and then with time running out completed his hat-trick with another identical effort and Blaydon were back in front. Home tails were up, the forwards went seeking a fifth try but when no opportunity arose they let it out and went for a drop goal.
The kick went wide, Loughborough breathed a sigh of relief, sped downfield and grabbed the result they just about deserved.