Hartpury College 34 – Blaydon 26

In their penultimate game of the season Blaydon went close to pulling off an unexpected win against the Gloucestershire side currently 3 league places and 16 points above them.

Disappointingly a Hartpury penalty with the last kick of the game denied them an extra point to add to the try bonus already secured. Playing some of their best rugby of the season however Blaydon survived an early set-back to be only 2 points down at the interval and then hit back with 3 tries of their own after the home side’s cracking start to the second period.

Hartpury right winger Steff Reynolds ran in unopposed in the 2nd minute, fly-half Matt Prothero adding the conversion, but when Blaydon got hands on the ball for the first time they ran it down the middle, Tom Bramwell made a break, and No8 Jason Smithson finished off in style.
On 20 minutes Craig Willis set off on a mazy run to release his backs and after some excellent handling was on hand to touch down a second Blaydon try, Andrew Baggett adding the extras.

In the final minute of the half Hartpury edged back in front at 14-12 with a Jaike Carter try. again converted by Prothero, and then in a 15 minute purple patch after the break ran in 3 more tries through Dan Thomas, Steve Tennant and James Forrester.

Now 31-12 adrift Blaydon might have crumbled but stuck to their task and with 25 minutes remaining turned the game on its head. Four scrums were won against the head as the visitors pack took control and in no time Will Witty and skipper Keith Laughlin had both crashed over, Baggett converting twice to take the score to 31-26.

The extra point was beckoning only for it to be snatched away by a last gasp Prothero penalty.

John Brennan