Blaydon secure bonus point win to move up to 12th – Blaydon 40, Henley Hawks 14

With one fell swoop Blaydon stretched their advantage in the league to 13 points over 2nd bottom Henley and also moved themselves up two places to the relative safety of 12th position.

A brace of early tries by leading scorer Jason Smithson created a 13 points  lead but entirely against the run of play Henley scrum-half Connor Murphy landed 3 penalties and at 13-9 two minutes into the second half the game could have been in the balance.

A 3rd try by Chris Wearmouth steadied the ship however and from then on Blaydon simply ran away with it.

Director of Rugby Micky Ward admitted that his side had been ‘a little nervous’ before the start, knowing how important the game was, and was particularly pleased with the impact made by his young replacements in the final quarter.

Andrew Baggett got the ball rolling with a 4th minute penalty but the game was disrupted soon after when following a bout of fisticuffs Will Witty the Blaydon second row and Julian Watkins the Henley No8 were sent for an early bath.

In no time at all the Blaydon forwards were in control, benefitting from a stream of infringement by the visitors, and the first of their 7 tries arrived on 25 minutes,. The Smithson efforts from line-out drives were virtually identical  and typified the strength of the pack but it was only a 7 points  lead at the break with no hint of the flurry of scoring to come later.

The game burst into life in the 67th minute and 10 minutes later the score had progressed from 18-9 to 40-9 as the tries rained in. Replacement winger James Cooney made an immediate impact breaking from midfield to send in Zach Kibirige despite being the victim of a high tackle.

Kibirige quickly returned the favour by drawing his man to put Cooney away and then 17 yr old Ben Stevenson made a dream start by scoring with his first touch in his first appearance.

Cooney was in again from another Kibirige burst to finish the scoring, and a last minute consolation by prop Dave Manning made little difference to the rout.


John Brennan