Henley Hawks 31, Blaydon 20


Blaydon surprisingly failed to pick-up any points at bottom of the table Henley but with Wharfedale also losing the Crow Trees nside are now guaranteed their National League One status for next season.
There was little between the sides until late on but Blaydon generally were below par, too often being sucked into an open game, and could have no complaint about the outcome.
They started off well enough, taking an 11th minute lead through Jason Smithson’s tried and trusted touch down from a line-out drive but by the interval the scores were level, Henley full-back Liam O’Neill finishing off a smart move.
From then on it was nip and tuck with the home side forging ahead through Dave Clements from close range, O’Neill converting, and then Blaydon levelling when young centre Ben Stevenson carved his way into the 22 for an excellent try, Brett Connon adding the extras.
Henley fly-half James Comben and O’Neill restored the home advantage but back came Blaydon again to make it 19-17 with another catch and drive, this time Gavin Jones the beneficiary.
Going into the final quarter Blaydon had their best spell but in ignoring kickable penalties in favour of touch-line progress found that the home pack were not to be pushed around, and it all came to nothing.
When the policy was changed Connon duly put over a penalty and Blaydon were ahead19-20, but the lead was to be short lived.
Henley, with seemingly the greater desire, came back fighting and in the closing minutes winger Jake Randall from a 3 on 1 overlap and then replacement prop Curtess Langdon, who was driven over, secured the points.

John Brennan