More than 200 see Blyth lose record

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ON another unseasonably hot afternoon the unbeaten second division leaders met at Plessey Road with visitors Consett winning 31-3.

But they were quick to admit the final score did not reflect the flow of the game.

A crowd of more than 200 saw Consett hit the ground running, scoring a try through winger John Astbury in the fourth minute, with stand-off Nick Cook converting for a 7-0 lead.

Stung into raising their game, Blyth gradually got on top, passing up a kickable penalty before skipper and scrum-half Tony Smithson kicked a second to make the score 3-7.

Blyth missed another penalty before, warming to their task, they launched an all-out assault on the Consett try line which saw the visitors hanging on with some desperate defending.

Three times Blyth grounded the ball over the line and on each occasion referee Craig Wrightson ruled out the ‘try’ for an infringement, correctly in each case – offside, ball passing clear through a scrum, and a forward pass.

It seemed inevitable that Blyth would score but a momentary lapse of concentration on the stroke of half-time cost them an interception try from Astbury, converted by Cook, for a 3-14 score line which did not reflect the first half play.

Consett went further ahead through stand-off Cook making the score 3-19.

Despite more sustained pressure from Blyth they could not find their way through Consett’s seemingly cast iron defence.

Karl Rose came on for Craig Turnbull at second row as Blyth began to tire and in the final minutes Dean Reay replaced Michael Barber at prop, but it made little difference.

It was cruel on the home side to concede two more tries in the closing moments through prop Mark Sadler and centre Ben Johnson, with Cook converting the second for a 31-3 score line.

Team manager Roger Phillips said: “It was not our day – the lads gave 100 per cent and there was not much to choose between the sides, except they took their chances and we didn’t; plus their defence was magnificent.

“Now we can forget all the ‘unbeaten record’ nonsense and concentrate on winning our remaining 17 games.”

On Saturday Blyth look to receover from the defeat when they will welcome Wallsend to Plessey Road for a 3pm kick-off.