Hartpury College 80, Blaydon 19


Not many would have anticipated a Blaydon win, Hartpury having won all 20 games so far – racking up 99 points out of a possible 100 in the process – but given their recent form nor would they have imagined a defeat of this magnitude.
Quite simply Hartpury are streets ahead of all opposition, fit, skilful, fast and ever dangerous. However this was a weakened Blaydon team that included two players making their first team debut that was up against it in the first eleven minutes in which they conceded 3 tries, but regrouped at half time to put up a creditable show in the second’period.
Particularly impressive for Hartpury were their wingers Anab Minchleis and Levi Davey who were a constant threat but Blaydon were not helping their own cause by missing tackles and failing to hold onto possession.
By the break the home side had added 2 more tries to make it 33-0 but from the restart Blaydon were quickly into action, scoring their first try with a super break by winger Joe Smith, one of the newcomers, who sent in Frazer Wilson on the other flank.
They then stole opposition line-out ball to get back on the front foot, and here prop forward Joe Melia, the other debutant, stepped up to the plate when he charged down a clearance to make the ball available and then followed play to take a return pass and crash over, Brett Connon adding the extras.
Another try opportunity was wasted when the forwards held possession for 10 phases only to then drop the ball with a 3 man overlap, but a third score did arrive from similar forward domination that led to second-rower Andrew Archibald being driven over by the pack, Connon on target again.
Unfortunately Hartpury were still running in tries at the other end and heading towards their highest points total of the season.

John Brennan