Blaydon lost their third successive National 2 North game in a row in what was a close encounter at Harrogate. Blaydon were promoted with Harrogate from Northern Premier via the COVID curtailed 2019/2020 season. The Clubs have had a long recent history of closely fought games and this was no exception.
Blaydon started brightly but an early Blaydon breakdown offence just inside their own half was penalised and Sam Fox, kicked Harrogate into a 3-0 lead. Blaydon were quickly back in the Harrogate half by retaining numerous phases of possession and mounting streams of attacks but failed to break the home defence. Eventually on 18 minutes Harrogate’s defence were penalised for being offside, Blaydon kicked to the corner and Alex Dodds was driven over from a driving maul to make it 3-5.
Soon after that score some Blaydon mistakes and indiscipline gave Harrogate an attacking line out of their own. A number of waves of attack followed and eventually Hooker Aarin Yorke, was driven over the Blaydon line, which Fox converted.
A period of Blaydon dominance followed but Harrogate’s defence held out in spite of conceding repeated penalties, which led to Harrogate number 6 being binned for 10 minutes. Despite numerous attacks as Blaydon tried to take advantage of their numerical advantage, poor decision making and handling errors meant the half time score stayed at 10-5.
Blaydon started the second half strongly and eventually broke the home defence with Alex Charlton picking up a loose ball to score under the posts, which was ably converted by John Clarkson taking the score to 10-12.
Frustratingly the Blaydon lead did not last long, as Harrogate launched a rare attack in the Blaydon half and following some strong defence we were awarded a penalty but some Blaydon indiscipline resulted in the penalty being overturned and Mike Newstead sent to the bin.
This proved a crucial moment in the game as Harrogate kicked to the corner and following a number of phases attacking the Blaydon line, 2nd Row Sam Brady scored under the posts which was easily converted by Fox.
There were still 28 minutes remaining and all to play for but although the majority of remaining 28 minutes were spent in the Harrogate half similarly to the Huddersfield game, poor decision making, handling errors and indiscipline from Blaydon assisted by some strong home defence meant that the score remained at 17-12 in a very frustrating afternoon for Blaydon.
Doherty, Graham, Knowles, Cummings, Edwards, Fox, Keith, Baxter, Yorke, Dennis, Hannam, Brady, Martin Dodds, G Coser, Declan Thompson. Subs:- Maycock, Larder, Lansdall, Wickham, Mercer
Bailey, Richards, Cooney, Greenlaw, Appleton, Ashman, Clarkson, Alex Dodds, Newstead,
Drew Thompson, Wright Laughlin, Charlton, Harrison, Clarke. Subs:- Gray, Beattie, Inglis, Cooper, Devereux
Pete Conor (RFU)
Man of the Match—Martin Dodds (Harrogate)
Tries–Yorke 27, Brady 55
Conversions—Fox 27 and 56
Tries–Dodds 19, Charlton 45