Team performance wins it for Blyth XV

HEAVY overnight rain made Yarm’s pitch unplayable and a late change was made to their former ground at Allens West for their game with Blyth RFC.

This completely ruined Blyth’s usual pre-match warm-up, but they refused to be fazed and made the best of the time available.

The pitch was a gluepot with little chance for the backs on either side to be employed in other than defensive duties.

For the first quarter Yarm were the better and more inventive side, taking the lead in the 15th minute with a penalty from full-back Isaac Kibirige.

Some ten minutes later Yarm were 10-0 ahead when a loose ball was touched down by lively scrum-half Charlie Simpson-Daniel, with Kiribige converting.

Up to this point, Blyth, although keeping their shape, seemed to lack desire, but all this changed in the last 15 minutes as the visitors’ pack raised their game and began driving Yarm backwards at a rate of knots.

Blyth were finally rewarded with a try credited to hooker Kevin Barratt, with centre Graeme Sutherland kicking a difficult conversion to cut the half-time lead to 10-7.

From half-time Blyth began piling on the pressure and eventually Barratt went over the line to put Blyth in front for the first time at 12-10.

Barratt was forced to leave the field with a leg injury with Dean Langdown, for the second week in succession, moving to hooker, where he proved an excellent deputy while Steve Long replaced him in the back row.

The game was far from over as Yarm defended heroically while Blyth, attempting to kill the game off, occasionally flirted with danger, leaving themselves open to a possible interception try which fortunately did not come.

Replacements Karl Rose for Nick Fraser and Dave Herron for Andy Barker brought fresh impetus to Blyth and a Sutherland penalty sealed a 15-10 win for the visitors.

This was another first class team performance from Blyth with the forwards led by pack leader Wayne Davie, having an outstanding afternoon against a resolute home pack.

The win moved Blyth into fourth place in the league, two points behind Barnard Castle who Blyth will visit in March.

The RFU Junior Vase match v Old Rishworthians has been cancelled.