Blaydon 25 Stags 10

By Old P - October 13 2008
Blaydon 25 Stags 10
Edwards The Stags under took the daunting task of travelling to the undefeated CANDY league leaders on a day suited to the type of fast running free flowing rugby that both sides wished to play. This was helped by referee Ray Sutherland's wish to keep the players: ‘on their feet, and in the game’.
Unfortunately for the Stags the unavailability of: both Second rows and the Number Eight from last weeks defeat at Horden meant that there were some major changes in the pack. With three second rows of: Johnny Wray [part of the very successful: under eighteen squad] who was making his first ever senior appearance along with: Martin Kemp and Michael Robson who were making their Stags debuts. Being introduced to a baptism of fire with both Blaydon second rows standing in excess of 6 feet’ 6 inches tall they had their work cut out in the lineout. However they and the rest of the Stags forwards were not overawed by the opposition and they competed manfully through out the game.

The game began brightly with both sides trying to move the ball wide and attack down the outside channels. After some twelve minutes of play after the Blaydon forwards had failed to penetrate the Stag’s stubborn defence their stand off chose not to try and move the ball wide but to step back into the pocket and kick a drop goal [3-0].

The Stags responded at once by moving the ball downfield and after a number of attacks and some very good handling by both backs and forwards on the 22 minute Edwards was set free down the right wing to round his opposite number and score in the right hand corner, unconverted [3-5].

Blaydon then began to apply pressure to the young Stags team particularly through the deft kicking of their stand off as a result of a poor decision by one of the covering Stags players who was caught in possession on the 30 minute mark the Blaydon centre had a clear run in under the posts which was converted [10-5] with no further score before half time the game was still wide open.

The Blaydon team started the second half very brightly and on the 45 minute mark they scored and unconverted try wide out on the right [15-5].

This stung the Stags team into action and they began to throw the ball about the field and recycle possession in a manner that could only please the club coaches. As a result of a series of forward drives down the centre of the field into the Blaydon twenty two the ball was moved to the right where quick ruck ball was won and the ball was transferred across the field at speed to the left wing where on the 54 minute mark Butcher finished off the best move of the game scoring in the corner [15-10].

The Blaydon team however were able to use their greater experience and knowledge and pressurised the Stags into making a couple of defensive errors on the 60th and again on the 75th minute mark resulting in two unconverted tries.[25-10].

Whilst this was another league defeat for the Stags they can take great heart in the fact that they gave the league leaders a very hard game and subsequently learned a great deal. As a result of which they can look forward to their future games with renewed optimism.

Stags: A. Coates, R. Wood J. Greenwell J. Reay [M Robson blood 20 mins] M. Kemp [M Robson 35 mins] J. Baggs, C. Young [G Southern 65mins], S. Smart, P. Williamson (cpt), P. Wallis [T. Armstrong 45mins], S. Butcher, N Howe, G Robinson, G Edwards, J. Cole.