Tynedale 32 Blaydon 31

As ‘derby’ games go this one had just about everything – 4 tries to each side, a result that was in doubt until the end and only a single point between the sides on the whistle.

Given the respective league positions Tynedale would have been clear favourites before the start but found themselves 17 points adrift within 20 minutes having lost Graeme Dunn and Guy Pike to the sin-bin for a deliberate knock-on and a high tackle.
Blaydon had taken full advantage of these home lapses with Dan Marshall crossing in the corner and then flanker Jack Davidson touching down after a storming break by Harry Borthwick. Fly-half Ryan Foreman converted both efforts and also landed a penalty but once Tynedale were restored to full strength the pattern began to change.
Pike went in from close range, James Spencer converting, and with an Ash Smith penalty the home side had pulled it back to 10-17. Back down at the other end Borthwick grabbed a 3rd Blaydon try from a bullocking run by Blaydon skipper Keith Laughlin but in the final play of the half prop forward Richie Elliot crashed over for Tynedale and Smith’s conversion brought a breathless first half to an end.
Nothing much happened in the opening exchanges of the second period until the 55th minute when a Smith penalty reduced the home deficit to just 4 points but then Tynedale shot themselves in the foot once more. Attempting to run the ball from their own 22 an optimistic pass was easily intercepted by Blaydon’s Tom Small who ran in unopposed and the visitors had a try bonus point and a 20-31 lead.
Tynedale however continued to look dangerous with ball in hand and Joe Miller’s barnstorming run laid on a score for Will Miller, and going into the final minutes they were just 6 points adrift.
The outcome was finally settled by fittingly what was the try of the game by Oli Walker who weaved in and out of the visitors defence for a brilliant solo effort under the posts. Another Smith conversion eased Tynedale in front for the only time in the game and having led for so long Blaydon were left with only the consolation of 2 bonus points.

John Brennan