BLAYDON’S bid for the SSE National One title is looking increasingly like a two-horse race after third-placed Rosslyn Park dropped to nine points behind the Crow Trees club.
Park’s 36-21 loss at Cinderford came on the same day as Blaydon were recording their 11th successive league victory, defeating Richmond 24-22 in a result which leaves leaders Ealing just three points ahead in the sole promotion spot.
Blaydon left it until two minutes from time, though, with the reliable boot of fly-half Andrew Baggett snatching back the lead after they trailed for the entire second half.
Simon Barber’s early try was wiped out by two from the Londoners, a brace from flanker Rob Bell reducing the gap to three points on the hour.
That set the stage for Baggett to strike and the prolific marksman hit his target to keep his side’s Championship ambitions alive.
At the other end of the table Tynedale added valuable daylight between themselves and the bottom three with a 19-9 victory at fellow strugglers Sedgley Park.
A low-scoring first half had Tyne 6-5 down at the break despite Hamish Smales’ try, but five-pointers from Ollie Stedman and Peter Moralee put the visitors out of reach as they leapfrogged Wharfedale into fifth-bottom.
In National Two North, Darlington Mowden Park sit just one place and four points away from the promotion play-off spot after Saturday’s 40-10 demolition of Birmingham-Solihull Bees. A free-flowing encounter, expected to be their penultimate outing at Yiewsley Drive before moving into the Darlington Arena, saw three tries either side of the break, No 8 Rory Duff rounding off a length-of-the-field counter-attack for the opener.
Cameron Mitchell was put into the left corner for the second from Grant Connon’s looping pass, while Shaun McArtney’s 50-metre sprint down the right touch-line secured a 20-3 half-time lead.
Lewis Johnston wrapped up the bonus point from a cross-field kick, scrum-half Zylon McGaffin saw a fine performance rewarded with a sniping try and Chris McTurk added the final score.
Westoe’s relegation worries continue following their 36-13 loss at Sheffield Tigers, while in National Three North Percy Park ran in five tries to sink West Hartlepool 32-6.