Blaydon V Sandal 18/11/2023
A beautiful autumnal afternoon greeted both teams as they ran onto the Crowtrees AGP surface. A perfect setting for what hopefully would be fast flowing rugby.
The previous three encounters had seen high scoring games, with Blaydon edging it two to one.
Dan Marshall got Blaydon underway with Sandal receiving the ball on the 20 metre line and taking it into a ruck. The ball soon found its way into the hands of Blaydon’s Milkes who made a darting run in the first minute taking the ball deep into the Sandal half before passing to Barry who took the ball to ground. Sandal managed to turn the ruck over and a kicking contest saw Blaydon with a lineout just outside the Sandal 20 metre line. The lineout resulted in a Blaydon penalty which Clarkson took quickly, putting the ball into Dynan’s hands who went over the line for Blaydon’s first score on 4 minutes, unconverted.
From the kick off Blaydon’s Coates cleared the ball up to half-way. A scrappy lineout saw the ball in Clarkson’s hands who made a clean break into the Sandal half only to be brought down by a last-ditch tap tackle. Sandal then gave away a penalty on their own 5 metre line, which Blaydon took quickly only to give away a penalty of their own for holding on, giving Sandal a chance to clear their lines.
The next 15 minutes saw the game played between both 20 metre lines with both the error and penalty count steadily increasing. From a lineout resulting from one of these penalties, slick Blaydon hands saw Appleton appear on his opposite wing and make ground into the opposition half which resulted in a Blaydon penalty which Marshall kicked to touch. The lineout was lost but a handling error by the Sandal lock saw the ball go back into touch. Again, Blaydon lost the ball from their lineout. Good defence and Blaydon won a penalty on their 10 metre line, which was cleared to half -way. The lineout was secured, and the ball moved to midfield where Blaydon were awarded a penalty which Marshall kicked to within 10 metres of the Sandal line. The lineout was secured, and the ball passed out to Dynan who broke and put the ball in Clarke’s hands who went over for Blaydon’s second try on 19 minutes, which Clarkson converted.
After a number of penalties following the restart, Blaydon moved the ball up-field with some great phase play and a deft kick over the defence by Marshall, resulting in a 5 metre scrum to Blaydon. From the scrum, the ball was moved wide, Marshall delayed a pass to Coates, wrong-footing the defender, Coates then popped the ball back to Marshall for a great try that went unconverted.
More penalties were exchanged, before Sandal decided to look to put points on the board with a penalty kick in front of the posts just before half time. H-T 17-3.
Sandal got us underway for the second half, which started pretty much in the same vein as the first, with entertaining runs along with penalties and turnovers from both sides.
After some attacking play Blaydon found themselves with a penalty midway in the Sandal half which Marshall kicked to touch. Blaydon then won a penalty from the resulting lineout and the Sandal 6 received a yellow card. Blaydon were subsequently awarded a series of penalties from reset scrums, but the penalty try was not forthcoming. After a frustrating number of resets, Blaydon’s Clarke picked up at the base and drove for the line, but Blaydon were held up. The resulting Sandal goal line dropout was caught by Blaydon’s Stamper who quickly got the ball along the backline to Dynan, who
danced past a couple of defenders to go in for his second score, which Clarkson successfully converted. Blaydon 24-3 Sandal.
After the Sandal restart, the Referee was again busy handing out penalties to either side. Blaydon even being marched back at one point for ill-discipline.
After some determined play, Sandal, scored a consolation try on 70 minutes by Stewart converted by Hodson. Shortly after, Blaydon then won a penalty in front of Sandal’s post which Clarkson kicked easily.
76 minutes saw the try of the game, Mikles and Appleton combined for a scintillating run down the left wing, with some wonderful interplay, resulting in Appleton having a clear run in to score Blaydon’s fifth try. A tough kick went unconverted.
Full time Blaydon 32, Sandal 10
Man of the Match – Ollie Dynan
The Grey Crow