Hull Ionians 17, Blaydon 17

It was billed as the game that would give us a real pointer as to which of these sides was the more likely to be relegated but after 80 minutes of fortunes fluctuating one way and then another we are no further forward.
Blaydon held all the aces in the first half, running up a 0-17 lead, only to be let down by some poor tackling and poor decision making in the second period, before seeing their rivals draw level with only 2 minutes remaining.
Hull in fact started the better but their 20 minutes of domination came to nothing and Blaydon gradually took control to score an excellent opening try. Scrum-half Nathan Horsfall took a quick tap penalty in his own half for winger Dan Marshall to cut loose and show a clean pair of heels to 3 defenders on his way to the line, just as he has in the previous 2 games.
Brett Connon added the extras and then a penalty when Hull infringed in front of their posts to make it a 10 point lead. A long period of Blaydon then followed but despite lots of enterprising play it took almost to the interval for a second try to be secured, a smart effort by Horsfall with Connon again converting to make it 0-17 at the break.
Blaydon came out looking to consolidate their position but 2 minutes into the new half missed a couple of important tackles and Andy Humberstone the Hull full-back was able to squeeze over in the corner for an unconverted score.
Despite this set-back Blaydon regained their composure and pounded away at the home line and were comfortably in control, but significantly without any further success. On 69 minutes however came a repeat of the opening Hull try with 3 tackles being badly missed and winger Sam Wilson, the leading Hull try scorer, crossing to reduce their deficit to 7points.
At this stage the visitors were still in control of their destiny, until the 78th minute that is when more poor defence let in fly-half Callum Irvine for a 3rd Hull try who then landed the conversion that levelled the scores.
It was a game that Blaydon could and perhaps should have won, but at least they still have a 2 point advantage over Hull going into the last 5 games.

John Brennan