BLYTH RFC had a welcome distraction from the rigours of league rugby with a trip to Winlaton in the first round of the RFU Senior Vase.
On a bitterly cold day it was Blyth who came away with a comfortable win against a dogged Winlaton outfit.
In a totally one-sided first half in which Blyth scored 31 unanswered points, Winlaton simply could not cope with the pace of the Blyth game, with scrum-half James Bostock instrumental in ensuring the match was played at a ferocious tempo.
It was a really useful run-out for Blyth who have been out of sorts in their last couple of matches.
After only five minutes, winger Andy Barker was first on the score-sheet with a try in the corner after good driving from the Blyth pack. The difficult conversion was missed by fly-half Andy Sutherland.
Barely five minutes later full-back Graeme Sutherland scored one of his textbook tries this season, cutting a fantastic line through the centres after a neat offload from centre John Kelly to score under the posts, brother Andy slotting over the simple conversion for a 12-0 lead.
It was centre Kelly who was at the heart of Blyth’s best rugby playing against his old club, and it was clear from the kick-off he was determined to put in a good performance.
After more good work from the Blyth pack, Barker found himself in some space wide out and he turned on the gas to round both the Winlaton winger and full-back to score under the posts after 20 minutes, again Andy Sutherland slotted over the simple conversion for a 19-0 lead.
Wing forward Dean Langdown was next to score with a neat show and go after finding himself in the centres, the touch line conversion being missed by Andy Sutherland, but he made amends just before half-time to convert his own try which was scored under the posts after evading several would-be tacklers.
Director of rugby Darren Cunningham gave all of his substitutes useful run-outs in the second half, with Karl Rose, Steven Long, Dave Awcock and veteran Kev Barratt all coming on at half-time.
Blyth, although still playing some classy rugby in the second half, were unable to add to their points tally playing up the slope, and credit went to Winlaton who, although well beaten, forced their way back into the game to force Blyth to defend well whenever Winlaton threatened.
This was a good performance by Blyth and came at the right time with a tough visit to Gateshead in the league this week.
Cunningham said: “The final score doesn’t bother me too much, it was the quick tempo which we played and the fact we beat Winlaton quite comfortably on their own patch, which was the most pleasing aspect of today’s game.
“We’re going into next week’s league match with a good run-out behind us, which is important after last week’s cancelled game.”
Man of the match: scrum-half James Bostock.
The game against Gateshead kicks-off at 2.15pm.