A BRILLIANT finish by teenage winger Zach Kibirige helped Blaydon to consolidate second place in National One with a 28-14 win at Old Albanians.
With four threequarters and first-choice fly half Andrew Baggett ruled out, Kibirige was called up on Friday evening for the 8am departure.
The Newcastle Falcons starlet had seen little of the ball until, with Blaydon leading 14-7 after 50 minutes, he gathered a chip by fly half Jamie Guy.
He stepped left and right then cut inside and left three tacklers stranded on his way to the posts.
Guy, who missed all his kicks in the previous week’s one-point defeat by Blackheath, nailed all four conversions this time.
The two in the first half were from near the touchline and earned a 14-0 lead after flanker Rob Bell finished two catch-and-drives.
The gap was down to 21-14 when blind side Keith Laughlin strolled over from a ruck 20 metres out for the decider to cap a professional performance by Blaydon.
Centre James Fitzpatrick, also on loan from the Falcons, played a big part in a very solid defence, while Jonny Burn starred at scrum half until he was replaced for the last 20 minutes by Andrew Davies. After three months out through injury, he also made an impact.
Darlington Mowden Park suffered a second successive defeat when they lost 17-6 at Luctonians to slip to fourth place in National Two North.
It was a massive change from The Northern Echo Arena to the three inches of Herefordshire mud and Mowden were unable to play their usual high-speed game.
They were short in the second row with Henry Forbes joining Andy Wilson on the casualty list, while Guy Van Dries and Tom Schofield have been unavailable because of university commitments.
Mowden trailed only 7-6 at half-time following two penalties by Tom Hodgson but fell further behind when Luctonians rucked and mauled their way to the line and a try was awarded underneath a pile of bodies. They added a penalty with the last kick of the match.
Westoe slipped deeper into trouble when they lost 35-33 at Dudley Kingswinford, who had a man sent off after 20 minutes.
Westoe had their noses in front through tries by centre Gareth Roberts and No 8 Scott Powell, both converted by Matt Mellish, but they trailed 25-14 at half-time.
Mellish also converted two of the three second half tries, but in the end it was left to 17-year-old replacement Nathan Horsfall to attempt the conversion which would have levelled the scores.
West Hartlepool were battling hard to stay in contention at home to Harrogate when they were sunk by a controversial try.
After the lively visitors scored two early tries, a Stu Waites penalty had the gap down to 10-3 when the try came on the hour.
In the build-up a touch judge’s flag was raised then lowered and when the try was awarded West skipper Andrew Dixon’s protests earned a yellow card. They conceded two more tries before Andrew Cheslin scored to make the final score 29-8.
Billingham lost 32-18 away to National Three North leaders Chester, who led 22-10 at half-time.
Middlesbrough are aiming for 20 points from their remaining games to stay in North One East and believe it is possible after an encouraging performance in a 20-11 home defeat by Sheffield.
Boro were on top in the first half and led 11-8 after scrum half Peter Wright nipped over from a line-out and Simon O’Farrell added two penalties.
With skipper Richie Barker playing well after returning from his work in Aberdeen, Boro felt it was their best performance for a while. But they were denied by four second half penalties.
Darlington had to make some late changes and lost 53-12 at Malton and Norton, who took advantage of weak tackling to score all their tries from long range.
The first two came inside three minutes and it was 31-0 before Darlington replied.
Forward drives set up both their tries, scored by Matt Sowerby and David Mckfall.
In the top versus bottom clash Durham City lost 106-5 at Beverley.
Stockton stayed in the promotion frame in Durham and Northumberland One when centre Joel Simpson scored in the last seconds to clinch a 27-23 home win against Gateshead.
Two Jeremy Good penalties had Stockton 6-3 ahead at halftime and he converted all three second half tries as the game opened up and the lead kept changing hands.
All three were scored by backs from 20-30 metres out, starting when scrum half Brian Thwaites darted through and beat several defenders.
Crisp passing set up powerful winger Chris Farrell, who broke three tackles to score, but it looked all over when lock Steve Taylor was harshly penalised and the visitors went ahead with two minutes left.
But Stockton had the last word when they quickly moved the ball from left to right for Simpson to burst through.