AFTER their ten-year reign in National One ended on Saturday, Blaydon will rebuild under former Scotland back row man Ally Hogg.

At 34, he is still contracted to Newcastle Falcons but has taken over from Micky Ward as Director of Rugby at Crow Trees and will be assisted by hooker Matt Thompson.

Hogg, who won 48 caps for Scotland, has been with the Falcons for seven years and has also coached Ponteland.

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It is hoped he might recruit some players released from Kingston Park as Blaydon will be losing several stalwarts.

Jason Smithson scored his 96th try in his 221st and final appearance, while Andrew Baggett took his tally of National One games to 409 when he went on for the last 24 minutes.

Chris Wearmouth's 253rd appearance could also be his last as he is believed to be considering a move to Barnard Castle.

A loyal club and county man, Wearmouth will now take charge of the Durham team to face Cumbria on Saturday at Hartlepool Rovers. They also face Staffordshire at Lichfield on May 13 and Leicestershire at Oakham the following week.

Ward's six-year tenure at Blaydon ended on a sad note when a last-minute try consigned them to a 29-24 defeat at Old Albanians, although Hull Ionians' win at Mowden Park meant the relegation issue was already settled.

Blaydon had arranged a 2.30 kick-off to suit their train times, but it had to be put back to 3pm after they suffered a two and a half hour delay en route.

Smithson's try opened the scoring and they were generally in control until Albanians scored twice in quick succession just before half-time.

They added a penalty on the resumption to lead 17-7, but Blaydon got back on level terms through a converted try by flanker Jack Davison and a Brett Connon penalty.

A penalty try restored the home lead, but Blaydon threw everything into attack and full back Dan Marshall scored in the corner with two minutes left.

Connon's superb conversion into the wind levelled the scores again, but Blaydon failed to collect the restart and the ball bounced kindly for a home winger to race away and score.

Westoe's hopes of an immediate return to North One East were dashed by a 19-14 defeat in the promotion play-off against West Leeds.

After pipping West Hartlepool to the play-off spot in North One East, Penrith lost 29-21 at Birkenhead Park.

Durham Ladies handed out 11 debuts before losing their opening match 17-10 against Northumberland, who included three Darlington Mowden Sharks players.

The match at Novos was mainly a forward battle, remaining scoreless until just before half-time.

Durham's inside centre, Tara Breslin, raced from her 22 to within a few metres of the line and the ball was recycled along the backs for left winger Tara Slater to score.

Northumberland attacked from the restart and a try by centre Natasha Robson was converted by fly half Lauren Roberts, who then added a penalty.

Durham levelled with a try by outside centre Kirsty Paterson, who had missed all last season because of injury.

But with two minutes left, Northumberland scored their second try by full back Emily Oliver, Roberts converting.

Durham play Cumbria at Blaydon next Sunday and Lancashire at Darlington's Blackwell Meadows the following week, when there will also be a Development XV game against Lancashire. All matches kick off at 2pm.