BLYTH came away from Ryton with a superb 32-36 win.
Both teams produced a fine game of rugby in which the outcome was in the balance right until the final whistle.
It was Ryton who started the brightest and they took an early lead through a penalty from winger Stevie Lee.
Blyth then settled into the game and were awarded a penalty on five minutes after good pressure from the pack.
A kickable penalty was turned down in favour of a scrum and it paid dividends as a smart pass from centre John Kelly saw full-back Graeme Sutherland burst through to score under the post.
Fly-half and brother Andy Sutherland added the simple conversion to give Blyth a 7-3 advantage.
Both teams then missed penalties before another kickable penalty awarded to Blyth was turned down in favour of a scrum, and yet again it paid dividends with a good drive from No. 8 Wayne Davie picking up at the base of the scrum and following great support from the pack, hooker Martin Stephenson was on hand to force his way over from a couple of yards.
Again Andy Sutherland kicked the simple conversion to give Blyth a 14-3 lead.
At this point it was all Blyth and they were worthy of their lead. But Ryton did respond on 26 minutes with a well struck penalty from Lee to reduce the arrears, and after Sutherland missed a difficult 35-metre penalty, Ryton got right back into the game with a try in the corner making the score 14-11.
A sloppy try for Blyth to concede with a number of missed tackles in the build-up.
Blyth substituted prop Stuart Brown for Nick Fraser on 30 minutes.
Blyth responded accordingly to the Ryton try when on 37 minutes they took a scrummage against the head and Sutherland kicked a fine kick deep into the Ryton 22.
The resulting lineout was won against the throw by second-row Steven Long, who had a field day in the lineouts, and after more pressure hooker Stephenson picked up on the Ryton 22 to go on an unstoppable, bullocking run to force his way over for a fine try which Andy Sutherland duly converted to give Blyth a healthy 21-11 half-time lead.
As in the first half, it was Ryton who started the brighter and they scored another try in the corner through their scrum-half Adam Williamson on 46 minutes.
The difficult conversion was missed by fly-half Joe Benson.
On 48 minutes, after a brilliant tackle in midfield by Blyth’s Davie, Ryton were penalised for holding on and Andy Sutherland kicked the penalty to extend Blyth’s lead to 24-16.
Prop Stuart Browne then returned to the field replacing Nick Fraser.
Ryton kicked a penalty on 50 minutes through Benson to reduce the arrears to 24-19 after Blyth were harshly adjudged to have crossed.
On 53 minutes Karl Rose was replaced in the second row by Wayne Dobson.
After yet more forward pressure, Blyth then kicked a penalty into the Ryton 22 and from the lineout prop, Michael Barber scored from a beautifully executed move to score the bonus point try for Blyth, Sutherland missing the conversion to leave the score at 29-19.
Ryton stormed back into the game and after several charges at the Blyth line, which they defended astutely, Ryton scored a dubious try on 63 minutes by hooker Richard Ward in which a double movement was evident. Benson added the conversion to make the score 29-26.
To their credit Blyth dusted themselves down and got back to playing rugby.
On 67 minutes Richard Cole was replaced by Jack Eastman in the back row.
On 77 minutes the ball was well set up in midfield by winger Callum Bradwell and Andy Sutherland slotted over a long range drop goal to take the score to 32-26 to Blyth.
Ryton threw everything at Blyth in the final minutes but Blyth defended superbly to hold out the home team for a deserved victory.
Blyth fly-half and skipper Andy Sutherland said: “Another great performance from the lads, their trust in each other and self-belief was awesome today and we can look forward with confidence to next week’s visit of Acklam.”
After last week’s game in which sports therapist Sandra Barratt had her busiest game treating injuries in 16 seasons with the club, Saturday’s was the first in which she never had to do any on field treatments, a testament to the players’ fitness and Sandra’s treatment regime.