The game that had to be won to prove it pays to get your points playing rugby rather than given them by teams that could not full fill the fixtures.

Date 27 April 2013

Venue Horden

Time 1500 hours

Conditions Dry slight wind

Blaydon went into this game knowing to win the league they had to win this game and score the bonus point. On games played and points earned on the rugby pitch they should have been 23 points in the clear. However by the rules Middlesbrough had been given 35 unplayed points by teams not able to full fill the fixtures. This meant Blaydon started today four points behind Middlesbrough.

Blaydon kicked off playing down hill (and some hill it is), the lads were up for the challenge from the start playing against a huge Horden pack. The whole Horden team unrecognisable from the team we played earlier in the season. If we were going to win this game it was going to be through speed and fitness with our skill factor shining through. Definitely not ball up jumper and we had to get it away from the forwards as quickly as possible.

Horden first to score on five minutes with pressure from the Horden forwards pushing over in the maul just right of the posts. Blaydon knew they were in a game and if they wanted this league title they had to work for it. Blaydon soaked up more forward attacking rugby from the Horden forwards until twelve minutes when Marty Scott intercepted a Horden pass and set off on a mazy run. Marty really took it to the Horden backs showing if they gave us a chance to play rugby and run at them they would struggle to cope. Hammer Hamilton supporting on the wing received a pass from Marty. With 25 metres to go the old legs didn’t let him down being tackled five metres out but forcing his way over for the try. (This was the end of the game for Hammer he injured his shoulder in the tackle).

Horden continued to put the Development team under the cosh and got their just reward on twenty minutes when they scored another try from the line out and driving on. The try was not converted. During the time for conversion the Blaydon coaches frantically tried to get the point across that the way to win this game was fast through the phases, fast ball from Daniel Knox at scrum half and let our backs do the damage. Daniel got the message and Blaydon started to stamp the authority on the game.

Lee Harvey in the best game I have seen him play in a long time was taken the Horden backs on. Between Lee and Marty when they went forward with ball destroyed the Horden Backs, the forwards now getting first to the break down and producing fast ball it was just a matter of time and patience before the skill shone through. Twenty nine minutes the forwards won the ball and because of the speed of the phases Horden found themselves all over for Blaydon to exploit. A fast pass out from a ruck by Daniel Knox, Andrew Coyne passed the gain line only to be tackled, pop passed to Lee Harvey and with power and pace ran forward going to ground and getting back up, not once but three times the Horden backs could not stop or cope with his aggression. Lee passed out to Marty and with his speed only one outcome expected with one Horden back to beat he timed his pass to Simon Carr on the wing, supporting at pace scored a try. (This is the Blaydon team we have come to recognise and the turning point)

Horden were now rattled at the way Blaydon could up the pace and two minutes later with the whole team involved in six phases and for the first time the Horden forwards found themselves spread around the pitch. Andrew Strachan and Steve Dryden boshed on first, stopped for the next phase and drive on by Ryan Convery and Joe Melia, Horden had lost the shape in forwards defence and the next phase followed fast behind with Matty Young and Rhys Quinn, Stopped again then the killer punch Gareth Henderson driving forward with Ross Noakes, Ross came from the back of the maul rolling round to score a fantastic forwards try. Converted by Andrew Coyne for the first time Blaydon were in front and would stay there for the rest of the game, they now knew how to hurt Horden.

Horden 12 v 17 Blaydon, 32 minutes.

On thirty five minutes once again with really fast ball being produced through the phasesBlaydon’s two centres produced what they had been threatening, Lee Harvey going forward taken five Horden players to stop him, passed out to Marty Scott and with his skill and pacescored a super backs try under the posts, converted by Andrew Coyne. 35 minutes

Just on the half time a well worked backs and forwards try both working together, gave the ball to Gareth Henderson running for a gap to score a try. (Gareth has done this all season for us and the development with Gareth is a much better team. Problem this time he got that excited he nearly forgot to put the ball down behind the goal. Playing at back row instead of his normal front row went to his head)


The second half with Rob Pyle playing on the wing as replacement for Hammer and Joe Snowden doing his bit at full back knew they would be under a barrage of high balls against the run of the hill dealt with all that was kicked at them. Both teams awarded a penalty and converting on fifty minutes the score stood at 15-32.

Fifty two minutes Horden awarded a penalty went for the line-out, winning it drove over for a deserved try.

Then for me our star of the season Andrew Coyne picked the ball from a scrum half pass, jinked his way through the Horden defence to score under the posts, he then converted to make the score 20-39

Blaydon gave away a penalty try on sixty two minutes and in the process Joe Melia was injured under the collapsed maul. On came Micky Jackson on the wing moving Gareth Henderson to prop? (This is not Gareth’s position and the side line coaches would have been happy at this stage to go uncontested. The lads were having none of it and enjoying a good hard game wanted to finish the season with us not having to go uncontested all season)

Blaydon won a penalty duly converted by Andrew Coyne on seventy three minutes, and then conceded another penalty try on eighty minutes. The first penalty try we accept the second we haven’t a clue what it was for. Blaydon weren’t really bothered what it was for because it was the last play and they were League champions.


On this day we had twelve players that were unavailable through injury or other reasons. We could not borrow any players from other teams as they have two games between them on Saturday and Tuesday. The seventeen players that went and played at Horden knew what they had to do and done it with huge hearts. Some injured during the game but staying on because they knew we had no replacement’s, every one of them heroes.

We have been captained this season by Scott Finlay in what must be the 3rd team’s most successful season. As coaches myself, Steve, Ged and Toddy would like to thank and congratulate all development players on the way you have adapted to all situations and kicks in the teeth throughout the season. On merit you are the Development and are County Champions and League champions. We have been the joint between youth and senior, bringing and introducing young players to senior rugby, and through our senior players giving our protection to them on the pitch. We have produced players that have moved up the teams and represented our firsts in national one. Yes that is what development at Blaydon means well done our season has finished.

See you all at presentation night on Saturday the 4th.

Good luck to our firsts in the quest to become the first club to win county cups at all levels in one season.

Thanks and signing off.

John Pacitti (a very proud development team manager)