Cambridge 40, Blaydon 43


Blaydon took what might prove to be an important step towards maintaining their Nat One status with this bonus point winning result at Cambridge but they left it mightily close. With 6 and a half minutes remaining they were trailing 40-31 but hanging on in there and by playing a more expansive game than they had earlier were rewarded with a try by Frazer Wilson. Then with only 2 minutes left on the clock the forwards bombarded the Cambridge line and skipper Keith Laughlin crashed over to secure the priceless win.
In a high scoring game both sides scored 6 tries as fortunes swung one way and then the other with the home side opening the scoring through their fly-half Dan Lewis who added the conversion himself. Within 2 minutes Blaydon were on level terms with some excellent interplay between backs and forwards producing a score for Chris Wearmouth, added to by the first of Brett Connon’s 5 conversions, and thus the pattern was set.
Cambridge hooker Ian Griffiths crossed from a catch and drive, and Connon landed a penalty before Blaydon centre Ben Stevenson intercepted on half-way to leave the home defence for dead. The visitors then moved further ahead when replacement scrum-half Ryan Foreman scooted over, his first for the club, but in the final seconds Albert Portsmouth grabbed a third for the home side to make it 21-24 at the break.
Blaydon lost concentration at the start of the second period and paid the price when they conceded quick tries to Cambridge flanker Louis Rawlings and winger Mike Ayrton, and on either side of the interval the score had moved from 14-24 to 33-24.
Tom Grimes made sure Blaydon got back into it when he showed great fortitude to persist along the line before squeezing over in the corner, but yet again the home side increased their lead, this time through Matt Hema.
And finally came the crucial 6 minutes with firstly Wilson bursting through the middle for an fine effort and then the pack taking it on from a catch and drive for Laughlin to do the business.
With Hull winning at Rosslyn and 2 games remaining everything is still to play for, with Blaydon 2 points behind rivals Hull.

John Brennan