Win lifts Blyth to the brink of promotion

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DESPITE having to make several changes, Blyth produced a workmanlike performance to keep their top of the league position, nine points ahead of the chasing pack with three games to play.

Life was made difficult at Hornby Park by a fierce cross-wind which the visitors, playing with the slope, struggled to come to terms with, kicking the ball frequently into touch on the full.

An early try from left-wing Ollie Clark converted by fly-half Gregg Dawson settled Blyth and most of the play was in the Seaton Carew half, but it took until the half hour before they stretched their lead.

In-form hooker Martin Stephenson crossed the line and with Gregg Dawson converting to give Blyth a 14-0 lead as they began to dominate the game.

As half-time approached Blyth right-wing Andy Barker scored a quite outstanding solo try, running from the halfway line, eluding three tacklers and breaking a fourth to touch down.

Gregg Dawson obliged with the conversion to give Blyth a 21-0 margin at the break.

Blyth dug into their reserves of fitness and also made use of all three replacements in the second half.

After scoring an early try full-back Chris Grey suffered a recurrence of a thumb injury and was replaced by Adrian McKeown.

Further changes were Karl Rose for Wayne Dobson at second-row and Dean Reay at prop for Nick Frazer.

The injection of fresh legs was necessary as much of the play was in midfield with both sets of forwards testing each other to the limit.

For Blyth, Jack Eastman at No. 8 showed maturity beyond his years, wing-forwards Sean Long and Dean Langdown got through an immense amount of work and the second-row pairing of Craig Turnbull and Wayne Dobson, then Karl Rose was solid throughout.

The game was finally put beyond Seaton’s reach by speedy centre James Bostock and with Gregg Dawson kicking his fourth conversion out of five Blyth led 33-0.

Belatedly Seaton Carew began to take command in the final minutes of the game and were rewarded with a try from full-back Lewis Humble, who with little room to spare jinked past two tackles to score in the left hand corner making the final score 33-5.

With their five tries, Blyth picked up a further bonus point, and with a nine-point lead and a massive points for and against difference are virtually promoted.

The game on April 7 at Wallsend has a kick-off time yet to be confirmed and may be early as Blyth’s 50th anniversary match is being played at Plessey Road, kick-off 4pm, and because the first XV have been forced to play the catch-up match at Wallsend by the RFU, it will be Northumberland Centurions who take on Leicestershire Tigers rather than Blyth.