Blaydon vs Harrogate
As this week’s list of injuries mounted, Harrogate would probably have settled for 2 losing bonus points today.
However, at the end, they were desperately disappointed to have lost a game which they could and should have won. Nobody in Harrogate’s team had a bad game and there were some outstanding individual performances. Blaydon now have an artificial pitch and, with their excellent backs, have developed a game plan to take full advantage of the surface.
The Harrogate scrum dominated from the start forcing Blaydon to concede a string of penalties. Blaydon went offside at a driving maul and Nathan Wyman’s kick opened the scoring. Quick Blaydon backs moves were well contained until Harrogate conceded a penalty which led to an attacking line-out. The ball was spread and stand-off, Dan Taylor scored a fine try converted by Jamie Guy. A Blaydon clearance was then charged down, leading to a Harrogate attacking line-out. Andy Boyde drove strongly to set up a driving maul from which Sam Brady crashed over for a converted try which regained Harrogate’s lead. More Harrogate attacks followed but they lost possession in midfield and Taylor gathered the loose ball to sprint clear for another converted try making the score 14-10.
Harrogate’s attacking game then forced the home defence to go offside and an attacking line-out led to driving mauls and Brady’s second converted try which made it 14-17 with 2 minutes of normal time remaining. James Dyson tidied loose ball inside the Harrogate 22 and Danny Matthews’ clearance kick set up more attacks. From an incisive backs move, Luke Edwards cut through to score a converted try and make it 14-24 at the break.
The second half opened with waves of Blaydon threequarters attacks and the ball was recycled from a Taylor break for scrum half, Nathan Horsfall to score a converted try. Harrogate responded with a counter attack from defence and Dyson hacked on to take play into the home half. Combined forwards and backs attacks put Blaydon’s defence at full stretch until Boyde crashed over to score wide out. Wyman’s attempted conversion hit the upright. A dazzling Luke Riddell break led to Harrogate’s next score. His touch down was judged to have been held up so a Harrogate 5 metres scrum followed at which Blaydon were again penalised. The forwards pressure continued and Boyde’s converted try made 21-36.
Boyde then dispossessed Blaydon attacking ball but was adjudged to have been offside and was yellow carded. Blaydon continued to attack and despite a Brady defensive technical offence, a converted try was scored. Very controversially, Brady was then yellow carded and joined Boyde in the bin. Harrogate’s weakened scrum continued to hold out against attempted home pressure and a backs counter attack was launched from deep. However, the numerical advantage told and centre, Dan Marshall’s converted try made it 35-36. With 6 minutes of normal time remaining, a further Blaydon attack led to another converted try to put them ahead.
Restored to their full strength, Harrogate attacked strongly. Flanker, Martin Dodds drove over to apparently score but was penalised. Repeated Harrogate drives led to Blaydon conceding repeated penalties in the red zone though no yellow cards were given. In the final move of the match, Boyde crashed over to clearly touch down. Unfortunately, the referee was unsighted and a Blaydon hand got underneath the ball before he arrived at the scene.
Blaydon: Bailey, Cooney, Marshall, Guy, Mongon, Taylor, Horsfall, Fearne, Bell, Eastwood, Wright, Charlton, Lenderlon, Harrisson, Laughlin. Subs:- Davidson, Steinberg, Borthwick
Harrogate: Rosillo, Doherty, Wyman, Edwards, Lawson, Riddell, Matthews, Driscoll, Larder, Maycock, Boyde, Brady, Millington, Dyson, Dodds. Subs:- Young, Yorke, Hampson
Referee: Owen Taylor (North)
Match report by Bill Barrack