Blyth too tough to handle

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AS a contest, this game was virtually over by half time as the visitors failed to cope with the fast-running and quick handling of the Blyth team.

The home forwards dominated the Shields pack and provided a good supply of ball to the Blyth backs.

Excellent conditions for rugby prevailed at Plessey Road, with the pitch soft underfoot and barely any wind attacking the Newsham end.

Blyth were 10-0 ahead in nine minutes with a double from James Bostock, the second made by centre Andy Sutherland.

An 80-metre solo run by skipper and scrum-half Tony Smithson for a try, this time converted by centre Andy Sutherland, stretched the score to 17-0.

On the half hour, Blyth went further ahead when the pack created an opening for second-row Wayne Dobson to score.

Just prior to the interval, Blyth number eight Wayne Davie completed a marvellous try with Andy Sutherland converting for a 29-0 margin.

Blyth’s coaching duo Dave Massie and Richard Calvert brought on Steve Hall at full-back in place of winger Andy Barker with Chris Grey moving from full-back to left wing.

Fine work from wing forward Steve Long put in Andy Sutherland in for a try which he converted for 36-0. Scores were now coming thick and fast with Shields, although sticking manfully to their task, being outclassed.

Further tries followed from prop Stu Browne, Andy Sutherland and James Bostock twice with Andy Sutherland converting all four to take the score to 64-0.

Although there was the sporadic raid from Shields, they barely threatened the Blyth line in the entire 80 minutes, with most of the rugby played in the Shields half.

The final quarter threatened to develop into the ‘Sutherland Family Show’ as the strong-running giant Andy put in brother and fellow centre Graeme for two tries, one of which Andy converted taking the score to 76-0.

Coach Massie ended the family show by substituting Graeme with Adrian McKeown for the final ten minutes during which hooker Martin Stephenson used his strength to score from close range with Andy Sutherland converting for a final score of 83-0.

By scoring four tries (in total, 13) qualified for a vital bonus point and, with Consett losing their unbeaten record at Rockcliff, lead the division by five points, with the County Durham side having two games in hand.

Crunch time comes next Saturday, February 4, when Blyth visit Consett, kick off 2.15pm.

By some quirk of the fixture list Blyth are at not at home again until Saturday, March 24, when they entertain Hartlepool by which time kick-offs will have reverted to 3pm.