West End 26 - 15 Blaydon Bricks
The first half began with little surprise as Blaydon used their powerful and ‘experienced’ pack to dominate early possession. Plenty of drives from the forwards off 9 and 10 kept the ball pretty central in the opening exchanges leaving backs from both sides becoming increasingly frustrated and well, freezing to be honest. Despite this, the West defence held pretty firm and did not give away many metres in the early carries from the huge Blaydon pack. However their efforts were to no avail as their discipline let them down continuously in the first half – gifting metres to the opposition. Blaydon used this to their advantage and maintained these attacking positions well and eventually scored a try as a result of the increased pressure (0-5).
Although discipline continued to cost West, the wind/rain was causing all sorts of problems for Blaydon’s line-out which kept the score-line to a minimum. West eventually got on the right side of the referee and got a penalty of their own which gave them a rare visit into the opposition 22. Subsequent penalties in the red zone reduced Blaydon to 14 men and West took full advantage with Adam Healy scoring from a great drive through the forward pack (7-5).
It wasn’t long until Wests’ Achilles heel caught them again with yet another penalty and although the referee didn’t show the cheese to the host side, the excellent field position led to another unconverted score for the away side as the teams head for the sheds (7-10 HT).
The second half began as the first ended with Blaydon scoring soon after the break but fortunately for the home-side, the opposing kicker was blowing some off some old cobwebs with yet another missed attempt (7-15). The rest of the match finished with what Head Coach Ian Grayson described as, “some of the best rugby” West have ever played. Two quick tries from debutants Matt Stevenson and Stephen Carn in the midfield changed the momentum in Wests’ favour and took the game away from the visitors who didn’t have the young legs to hit back (21-15). It must be noted that new recruit Matt Stevenson looks to be quite soft after surviving just 20mins after coming on as a substitute in the second half. The backs were in full flow now and Ewan Pritchard joined in on the action, opening his account for the season as well (26-15 FT). After some tough tackling in the first half up front, the backs rewarded the forwards for their efforts in the second with a flurry of tries.
Convergys Man of the Match - Adam Healy
Try scorers – Adam Healy, Matt Stevenson, Stephen Carn, Ewan Pritchard