Buccaneers help Jim celebrate 65th with a win over Ravens

Action from Blyth Buccaneers' 41-12 win over Newcastle Ravens.
Action from Blyth Buccaneers' 41-12 win over Newcastle Ravens.

Blyth Buccaneers turned out to celebrate the 65th birthday of legendary hooker Jim Smith, who played the full game against Newcastle Ravens and excelled in the front row.

Against a younger fitter opposition, the Blyth veterans played the game to suit their style, playing close to the forwards and mauling rather than rucking.

The first 30 minutes was a fast affair with the Ravens trying to stretch the Bucs, but the experience of the home team showed, with wave after wave of attacks, with forwards and backs combining.

From a forward drive the ball was moved to Lee Dunwoodie to power over.

Good scrum work allowed Mel Cole to feed Baz Smith who put Ken Barratt through the gap for try number two.

Lineout ball from Steve Henderson was carried on by the forwards, and again the power of Dunwoodie saw the prop complete his brace of tries.

But Newcastle Ravens were not allowing Blyth to have it all their own way and some good backs work resulted in a try for the visitors.

The Ravens are a much improved team, with pace and aggression, and this resulted in several dust ups as the Bucs tried to bully the opposition.

The home side finished off the first half with an excellent backs move which saw Andy Jackson, playing his first game for Blyth in years, finish off in the corner.

Mick Cobley the Bucs’ number seven, had an inspired first half in attack and defence.

Half-time saw both teams regroup, the Blyth huddle coming up with suggestions for the second half tactics, and the decision saw the veterans change their style of play and move the ball along the backs more.

The result caught the visitors off guard as they had almost found a way to stop the Bucs making ground in the forwards.

The change in style produced some excellent passing moves and kept the supporters from both sides warm with appreciation of the rugby skill on display.

The inter-passing and pace injected by Scott Robinson and Gary Sinton brought loud cheers from the crowds, Robinson scoring a superb try after a move involving seven players.

Once again the Ravens were not spectators and pressed hard at the home line and after a series of drives Blyth kicked clear for Dave Gray to chase the length of the field showing shades of his Powderhall days to catch the Ravens full-back in possession, and Jackson following up snapped up the ball to score his second.

Again the visitors came back into the game and after another strong forward surge scored a converted try.

The Bucs, however, had the last say with another backs move to get the crowd on their feet with Jackson scoring his third of the match.

Baz Smith converted three scores. Mel Cole, the vets’ number eight, also celebrated a birthday, his 60th, playing alongside his son Richy.

Both teams retired to the bar where the veterans awarded the Ravens number seven the man of the match trophy.

Blyth Buccaneers:

L Dunwoody, J Smith, G Christy, I Atkinson, S Henderson, M Savage, M Sutherland, T Brookes, J Pitkiehtly, J Heyes, K Robinson, M Cobley, T Armstrong, R Cole, M Cole, B Smith, J Johnson, K Barrett, G Dawson, D Hall, G Sinton, S Robinson, K Bell, D Grey, D Charlton, A Jackson, Brian Reece linesman.