Blyth through to Northumberland Plate final

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In quite damp and muddy conditions Blyth took on Novos for the second time this season and won 23-7.

The game was both a Durham and Northumberland League Division fixture and the semi-final of the Northumberland Plate competition.

Both sides played cautiously at first but Novos had the better territory advantage in the first quarter.

It took some time for Blyth’s new fly-half Clifford Brooks to settle into the game, but once he did the home three-quarters were soon penetrating the Novos defence.

Blyth forwards have in recent games been taking the opposition apart with some driving mauls and scrums. This match was no exception and as the game progressed the amount of ball that Blyth had increased.

The first points came from captain Tony Smithson’s boot via a penalty kick.

This was soon followed by three tries from Dean Langdown, Liam Heslop and Jon Grey to make the half-time score was 18-0.

The crowd was looking forward to watching Blyth score their fourth try and get that bonus point.

But Novos had other ideas and began to put pressure on Blyth, using long kicks down .

Novos’ pressure paid off and they scored a converted try.

Blyth pulled together and after several close attempts a blind side run from a five-metre scrum gave Ollie Clark the space to run in the fourth try.

The win moved Blyth back to second in the league behind Horden and one point ahead of Durham City, who lost at the weekend to Guisborough.

The win has also put Blyth into the Northumberland Plate final.

The last time Blyth’s first XV were in a cup final was in 1979 when they played Gosforth Greyhounds at the old County Ground.

They lost that one but are now looking forward to an encounter against Whitley Bay Rockcliffe or Berwick, who need to fulfil their semi-final game by mid-March.

The final will be a massive occasion for the club and players.

The team, led by Tony Smithson and coached by Dave Massie and Graeme Smith, are playing some exciting, positive and confident rugby.

The possibility of league promotion and now a cup final are rewards for all the hard work the players are putting into the game.

But Blyth need to keep their focus and momentum as this weekend they travel to Hartlepool Rovers.

Blyth 2nd XV also won 28-5 against Novos on Saturday, scoring four tries from Henderson, McKenzie, Dunwoodie and Dunn.