Rosslyn Park 34 – Blaydon 27

Blaydon are still seeking a first win at the Roehampton ground but once again it was a close affair with the London side scraping home in the closing minutes after a number of controversial decisions had gone against the visitors.

With the scores level at 27-27 the Blaydon pack were in full flow in search of a winner only to be penalised 3 times in quick succession and the moment was lost. Park kicked long and then ran it from a line-out for replacement centre Steve Hamilton to touch down and Sam Catz add the conversion.

Both sides were committed from the start but Blaydon struck first with an Andrew Baggett penalty before Park spun it wide for winger Neville Edwards to race in. Catz put over the conversion and then 3 rapid penalties to take it to 16-3 but Blaydon responded with a purple patch that brought them a brace of tries.

Flanker Robert Bell went over from a catch and drive, his 17th of the season, and then from the move of the game when Blaydon had whipped it through many hands winger Simon Barber got possession 30 metres out and with two immaculate side-steps shot clear for a fine effort, Baggett converting.

With the interval beckoning Edwards grabbed his second for the home side, outgunning the defence from his own chip ahead to make it 21-15.

It was all Blaydon at the start of the second period with the home pack in disarray and powerless to stop Bell repeating his earlier score before conceding a penalty try after a series of infringements and a sin-binning for their No8 Tom Baldwin.

Baggett’s conversion kept Blaydon in the driving seat but two more Catz penalties and then the late Hamilton score turned things round for the home side to close down the gap between themselves and the Crow Trees side.

Blaydon however picked up 2 bonus points to stay 5 points clear in 3rd place and everything still to play for from the final game.

John Brennan