Preston Grasshoppers started the stronger of the two teams. And on 9 minutes a break by their fly half Will Hunt took the play into the Blaydon 22. A few phases later a clever grubber by Hunt put in winger Will Clapham to score under the posts which full back Ben Pearson easily added the conversion.
Blaydon responded well from the kick off and a Preston penalty led to a kick to the corner. The Blaydon catch and drive was good and hooker Danny Gray was in control of the ball when they crossed the line. Blaydon Scrum Half John Clarkson added a good conversion from wide out.
The next score came from a poor Blaydon kick which fed the Preston left winger Tyler spence who carried into the Blaydon 22 and then he fed in hooker Chris Taylor who carried the ball 20 metres to score. Pearson missed the conversion.
Blaydon responded well and after 5-10 minutes of pressure, Ralph Appleby Blaydon Number 8 took the ball to just short of the line and Darren Barry was on hand following up to get the ball down just over the line from 1 metre out. Clarkson easily converted.
Frustratingly for home team an error on 30 minutes triggered an excellent Preston counter and their openside Ben Dorrington took them from their own 22 to deep inside the Blaydon half. The ball was quickly recycled and it was spun wide and a good line ran by centre Jacob Browne was enough to cut open Blaydon’s scrambled defence and he went in from 30 metres out completely untouched, Pearson converted.
The theme of each team taking turns alternate scoring continued and a good Blaydon break was deliberately interrupted by a Preston front row in an offside position and because it was on the stoke of half time and right in front of the posts, Blaydon opted to take 3 points courtesy of the boot of Clarkson.
Half Time: Blaydon 17 v Preston Grasshoppers 19
2nd half started badly for Blaydon where they were demolished in the first few scrums leading to string of penalties in the Blaydon half but luckily Pearson missed his first penalty attempt at goal but made no mistake with the 2nd attempt.
The remainder of the 2nd half was very scrappy to say the least with Blaydon edging things territorially and on a few occasions knocking on when hammering away with their forwards at the Preston line. Eventually on 75 minutes Blaydon crossed the Preston line through a driving maul from a 5 metre line out this time replacement hooker Charlie Smith had the ball in his hands as they rumbled over the line. Frustratingly for the home side the conversion from 15 metres wide of the posts was missed by Clarkson to win the game.
Full Time: Blaydon 22 v Preston Grasshoppers 22
Blaydon: Bailey, Bourne, Obonna, Cooney, Appleton, Marshall (C), Clarkson, Dodds, Gray, Rewcastle, Dodds, Barry, Phillips, Wright , Hall-Lyon, Appleby
Replacements: Siddle, Smith, Roy, Stamper, Greenwood
Preston Grasshopper: Pearson, Spence, Browne, Swarbrick, Clapham, Hunt, Moulding, Mabaya, Taylor, Trippier, Murray, Naylor, Riley, Dorrington, Richardson
Replacements: Thompson, Orry, Jones, Squirrell, Gosling
REFEREE: Michael Harris
STAR MAN: Preston Grasshoppers – Will Hunt
Tries: Gray 10, Barry 26 , Smith 74
Conversions: Clarkson 11, 27
Penalties: Clarkson 39
Preston Grasshoppers 22
Tries: Clapham 5, Taylor 19, Browne 32
Conversions: Pearson 6, 33
Penalties: Pearson 48