Blyth secure promotion to division one

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A DISCIPLINED performance from Blyth at Beaconhill Park not only saw off Wallsend but confirmed their promotion to division one.

Research by the Blyth coaching duo of Dave Massie and Richard Calvert has revealed that in posting a total of 1,047 points so far this season the first XV have already passed the record of 1,044 set 40 years ago in 1971-72.

With two games remaining and 22 played, this compares favourably with the earlier record when 39 games were played, although it was four points for a try in those days compared to the five on offer now.

Blyth scored an early try through right wing Andy Barker to lead 5-0 but looked ill at ease and Wallsend were soon level with a try from hooker Damien O’Connor.

This was as good as it got for the home side, for though it took 20 minutes to achieve, once Blyth had relaxed and found their rhythm tries came thick and fast with the visitors ahead 34-5 at the break.

An early second half try from Blyth appeared to put the game beyond Wallsend, but to their credit the home side fought back well.

The large pitch suited Blyth and the pace of their backs and scintillating high speed passing movements brought tries at regular intervals.

In an attempt to stem the tide, Wallsend changed their tactics but became over exuberant, culminating in Blyth’s youthful No. 8 Jack Eastman being taken to North Tyneside General Hospital with what was later confirmed as a broken nose.

The visitors were rapidly rising to the bait when skipper Tony Smithson, showing great authority, calmed his players down, ordering them to concentrate on rugby, which thankfully had the desired effect.

In all, Blyth ran in 11 tries evenly distributed among the players and also had three efforts disallowed.

The tries earned yet another bonus point.

In addition to Jack Eastman, who was replaced by Stefan Krzysiak, Blyth also brought on Steve Hall for Chris Grey at full-back and Stuart Browne at prop for Nick Fraser, all in the second half.

The try scorers were right wing Barker, centre Graeme Sutherland (2), prop Fraser, left wing Ollie Clark, back row Steven Long, hooker Martin Stephenson (2), No. 8 Krzysiak and scrum-half Tony Smithson (2), with fly-half Gregg Dawson kicking five conversions.

The main target now is to go up as champions with only Consett able to catch them.

On Saturday Blyth are at home to fourth place and in-form Rockliff in their final home fixture, kick-off 3pm.