ON a perfect day for rugby, Blyth arrived at Medicals’ Cardington Terrace ground full of confidence after a run of good form which has seen recent victories against Ryton and Consett and a draw with Hartlepool Rovers.
However, they came away from the game with only a bonus point loss after being beaten, in fairness, by the better side on the day.
Medicals’ backs in particular were in scintillating form and looked likely to score every time they had possession, and their forwards frequently won the collision in a game where Blyth, although putting in a decent performance with ample possession, came off a deserved second best.
It was Medicals who were first on the scoresheet after only two minutes when a needless penalty was punished by a quick tap and go by the scrum-half which caught Blyth napping and he in turn fed his centre for a score under the posts, the simple conversion was added.
Worse was to follow two minutes later when Blyth’s full-back was caught in possession and after being turned over, Medicals backs shipped the ball wide for a try in the corner, this time the conversion was missed.
At this point Blyth had hardly touched the ball, and after a kick deep into their 22, a clearance kick by Blyth’s full-back was charged down and another simple try and conversion ensued.
After only 12 minutes Blyth found themselves 19-0 down and effectively the game was lost.
But to their credit they fought back and showed guts and resolution to take the game to Medicals.
After 25 minutes Blyth got their first try on the board with hooker Martin Stephenson burrowing over from a neat lineout catch and drive.
And this was repeated six minutes later with Stephenson again touching down from an exact copy of first try.
Both difficult conversions were missed by fly-half John Kelly and the score was 19-10 approaching half-time.
Medicals did have enough time to kick a penalty giving them an interval lead of 22-10.
The home isde started the second half much like the first by scoring early, this time giving Blyth a dose of their own medicine getting a five pointer from a lineout catch and drive.
Blyth made use of their subs with prop Nick Fraser, back row Steve Harding and full-back Liam Heslop all entering the fray 50 minutes into the game.
On the hour, Blyth scored again, this time through man of the match James Bostock, who scored in the corner after a good passing move involving wing Adie McKeown, second row Craig Turnbull and Kelly, again the difficult conversion was missed.
Although the game was probably out of reach at this point, Blyth were not going to give up without a fight and were determined to at least come away from defeat with a bonus point.
Medicals scored another converted try through their powerful No. 8, but Blyth’s tackling left a lot to be desired and they added another soon after from a blind side break on 66 minutes taking the score to 41-15.
Blyth then upped the ante and for the last 15 minutes were camped on the Medicals line, and after a series of scrums in which Blyth forced Medicals into a string of penalties, a penalty try looked inevitable, however, it did not come and from the final scrum No.8 Wayne Davie fed scrum-half Tony Smithson who in turn found winger McKeown to barge over for the crucial bonus point try to finish the scoring for the day.
On an afternoon where Blyth were simply beaten by a better side, positives can be taken from the result in that they never gave up and fully deserved their bonus point in defeat, a point which could prove crucial as the season approaches its climax.
Skipper Smithson said: “Fair play to Medicals, they were good value for their win and I’ve no complaints about the result.
“I thought our lads showed a lot of resolve to get the bonus point try and it was deserved.
“Medicals’ defence was awesome and they hit us hard, so to score four tries was testament to the never say die attitude of this team, and I’m pleased by the way we came back from a an awful opening quarter which effectively cost us the game.”
On Saturday Blyth entertain Selby in the National Cup, kick-off 2.15pm.