Blyth just short of the 100-point mark

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WITH Yarm’s Wass Way ground only partially thawed, Blyth’s match was in doubt until, with the agreement of both captains, Durham referee Trevor Alley finally gave the go-ahead.

Defending the frostier end of the pitch, Blyth made a very tentative start and in the eighth minute went behind to a try from scrum-half Wayne Taylor converted by fly-half Phil Bieda.

Bottom of the league Yarm looked a much more purposeful side than the one beaten 161-0 at Blyth in September, but once Blyth found their feet and drew level in the 15th minute there was only going to be one outcome.

By half-time Blyth were ahead 40-7, but they were forced to make a change in replacing skipper and scrum-half Tony Smithson who suffered a groin strain.

James Bostock moved from centre, Andy Sutherland dropped from fly-half to centre and Gregg Dawson came on at fly-half.

Blyth took the better part of 20 minutes to get back on song but once they did they overwhelmed the home side who, to be fair, kept going until the end, and to be even handed Blyth respected their opponents and did not try to showboat.

Blyth came close to a century by scoring 14 tries and securing a bonus point.

For the record the scorers were left wing and man-of-the-match Andy Barker (6), Andy Sutherland (3), full-back Steve Hall (2) and one each for wing forward Steve Long, prop Michael Barber and centre Graeme Sutherland.

Andy Sutherland kicked 12 of the conversions.

Midway through the second half Blyth brought on Stu Browne for Dean Reay at prop and Dean Langdown at wing-forward for Barry Harnett, giving everyone a share in the proceedings.

Skipper Smithson, who hopes to be fit for the next match, said after the game: “This was another fine team performance, and yes, some of the tries in the last quarter bordered on the spectacular, but we can only play against what is put in front of us and nobody took any liberties.”

With Consett’s match frozen off, the win moved Blyth to the top of the division, although the Durham club have two games in hand.

Blyth’s next game is at home to North Shields on Saturday, January 28, kick-off 2.15pm.