BLYTH RFC’s Jekyll & Hyde season continued as they slipped to a disappointing defeat to Medicals and now find themselves at the wrong end of the league.
On a dull, overcast Plessey Road ground there was a definite improvement from last week’s poor showing against Consett, although Blyth continue to fail to turn ample possession into points, especially in the backs, where poor execution, dropped balls and missed passes continue to thwart attacking opportunities.
A high penalty count against Blyth did them no favours and in a game where they had plenty of the ball, these two factors proved to be their undoing.
It was Blyth who started the brightest and they took the lead on five minutes with a penalty by centre Andy Sutherland.
But Medicals’ response was quick and after sustained pressure in the Blyth 22, their scrum-half burrowed his way over in the corner and the difficult conversion was slotted over by the fly-half.
Blyth were then penalised in a ruck after a poor offload in a tackle went astray and Medicals capitalised by kicking the penalty to take a 10-3 lead.
A feature of the game was Blyth’s insistance to try the risky offload in the tackle when sometimes simply setting up a ruck would be the better and safer option.
Blyth prop Stu Browne had another field day in the scrum, continually forcing his opposite number and giant of a prop to pop his bind in almost every scrum, but this was continually overlooked by the referee allowing Medicals to stay camped in the Blyth 22, and it was the same prop who proved unstoppable from only five yards with Blyth fly-half John Kelly the only player prepared to move forward to attempt the tackle.
Blyth then got back into the game with a sustained attack in the Medicals 22 but were penalised when hooker Martin Stephenson was adjudged to have made a double movement in the tackle.
Just on half-time Blyth attempted a risky short 22 and after it didn’t work out they were penalised for handling in a ruck and the Medicals fly-half kicked the straightforward penalty for an 18-3 lead.
On 50 minutes Medicals added another try.
To their credit, despite some heavy pressure by Blyth, Medicals defended well.
On 70 minutes, Blyth were given a lifeline after winning a scrum against the head, scrum-half James Bostock broke blind to feed winger Andy Barker who rounded his winger to score in the corner.
The conversion was missed by Sutherland and straight from the kick-off Blyth conceded yet another needless penalty which was slotted over by the Medicals fly-half to give them a 26-8 lead.
It is now apparent Blyth are missing skipper Tony Smithson, whose leadership qualities would get Blyth back to the standards they want to be at, and the sooner he is back playing, the better.
Perhaps the lack of a coach is now starting to show and efforts to recruit one need to be refocused.
This weekend Blyth face a trip to Ponteland (3pm).