Loughborough Students 52, Blaydon 34

The New Year disappointingly began just as the old had ended with another league defeat for Blaydon, but despite the score-line this was a much improved performance from the Crow Trees side. They scored twice in the opening 10 minutes, led by 5 points at the interval, and were in contention for most of the second period in which they added 3 more tries.
The Students however also upped their game after the break and in the end had the fitness and the composure to clinch the win that they just about deserved.
Blaydon full-back James Cooney broke out at speed to set up the opening score, going wide over half-way to send in centre Tom Grimes with Brett Connon adding the conversion. By the 14th minute Blaydon had doubled the lead through the efforts of the forwards with Rob Kalbraier rumbling over and Connon again on target.
Loughborough then responded with 2 tries in 3 minutes from Kehinde Olowofela and Geir Currrie and a conversion by fly-half Owen Waters but by the break Blaydon were leading 12-17 thanks to a long distance penalty by Connon.
Tries came thick and fast in the second half, the Students scoring twice through winger Sam Poynton and then prop Riccardo Brugna, and the visitors hitting back with a close range effort from front-rower Jack Davidson.
Poynton grabbed a second for Loughborough and then lock forward James Lasis widened the gap when he chipped ahead to collect a very fortuitous bounce, but back at the other end a tremendous surge by the Blaydon pack had the home side in full retreat resulting in a penalty try to which Andrew Baggett added the extras.
At 38-29 Blaydon were hanging on in there but Student pressure finally told with scores from Harry Simmons and Bill Kaye to put the seal on a home win. It was the visitors who had the last word however when they stormed up-field from a restart and pressurised the line for skipper Keith Laughlin to crash over for try number five.

John Brennan