West Hartlepool 15 vs 46 Blaydon Development

It’s a little difficult to write a match report when you have been playing a full 80…but I’ll give it my best shot!

A strong development team traveled to Wests looking to continue their early season form. It was disappointing to arrive and find that Wests didn’t have a full front row so there would uncontested scrums from the start of the game, if anything this gave Blaydon more incentive!

From the outset it was clear to see that Wests had one game plan, give it to the forwards and try to crash everything through the middle. What they hadn’t anticipated was the strength, resilience and speed of the Blaydon defence. From the first tackle to the last there were numbers in defence, great communication and real defensive effort to force the opposition to go wide in the hope of breaking through – which was the only way they scored their tries!

Without scrums to work from as starters it was important the pack used the lineout effectively to give the backs a platform to play off. Johnny Shaw, Liam Wright and Matty Whitfield were excellent at lineout time either securing our own ball or stealing opposition ball. In true Blaydon style the pack showed how effective the catch and drive can be, scoring directly from one and giving the backs a platform to score another two from. It’s credit to the forwards for getting themselves to training. It would be unfair to talk about lineouts without mentioning hooker Sandy Davidson who made his first Blaydon start last week having returned to rugby following a long period out with a nasty injury. He hit 100% of his lineouts and was outstanding in the loose.

With the forwards providing clean ball the backs showed what playing together and having a bit of confidence and understanding can do. They looked like they were going to score every time they had the ball in hands. Jack Emerson in the first half and Duncan Tompkins in the second showed their leadership and skill at 10. Frazer Wright ran some excellent lines in the centres, while Scott Whitfield and James Murray had pace in abundance which cause the Wests covering defence problems every time the ball went wide.

There is a really good feeling about the development team this season. Players are at training regularly, there is a real team spirit and ethos developing and with the U18’s becoming available again next week there is  competition for places in all areas, which is a great selection headache to have!

1. Andrew Strachan (C), 2. Sandy Davidson, 3. Joe Melia, 4. Johnny Shaw, 5. Ryan Convery, 6. Matty Whitfield, 7, Liam Wright, 8. Mike Hastie, 9. Chris Hamilton, 10. Jack Emerson, 11. Scott Whitfield, 12, Duncan Tompkins, 13, Frazer Wright, 14, James Murray, 15 Chris Coates

Tries (Sorry if I have forgotten anyone!) Scott Whitfield (2), Johnny Shaw, Ryan Convery, James Murray, Duncan Tompkins, Jack Emerson, Frazer Wright

Conversions – Jack Emerson 1, James Murray 2

Sin Bin – James Murray (Although in the post match discussion Coatesy reckoned he was onside everytime, but was took rapid for the referee!)