BLAYDON were reminded of what they had been missing when Fraser Wilson scorched 50 metres to score the winning try at home to Cinderford.
The visitors looked like winning when they came back from 24-10 down at half-time to draw level, but the game changed dramatically when Blaydon sent on Hall Charlton for the last ten minutes.
“I’ve never seen anyone have such an impact,” said secretary Jim Huxley. “He directed everything and the ball went along the backs much quicker.”
The scrum half tore a hamstring at the start of his final season with Newcastle Falcons and has struggled ever since, starting only twice since joining Blaydon as assistant player-coach.
Micky Ward now has to decide whether to risk him from the start at home to Tynedale this week with the sides now on the same number of points in mid-table in National One.
Wilson’s prolific early season form alerted the Falcons, but he has missed the last four months after a hernia operation and Blaydon have heeded medical advice not to rush him back.
There were two minutes left when Tom Catterick came into the line from full back and put Wilson away on halfway.
He beat two men on his way to the posts, Andrew Baggett adding his third conversion for a 31-24 win.
Cinderford had scored first but, despite having flanker Keith Laughlin sin-binned, Blaydon still had enough pack power to earn a penalty try when the visitors collapsed a scrum.
They immediately followed up by moving the ball along the line for Catterick to score in the corner.
Then a crunching tackle by Charles Incledon saw the ball run loose and his fellow centre Matt Clark snapped it up to race over.
Cinderford scored again after 40 minutes but in added time home flanker Rob Bell capped a fine performance by finishing off a driving maul for the bonus point try.
Blaydon sent on Falcons front row duo Matt Thompson and Darren Fearn for the last 30 minutes, but the game was slipping away until Charlton turned the tide.
Tynedale lost 34-17 at home to Blackheath, despite the rarity this season of having both Murray bothers, Andrew and Jamie, in their pack.
For all their ability, they also bring yellow cards and after scoring the opening try No 8 Jamie was sin-binned as the penalty count went 11-1 against Tynedale in the first half.
It was 5-5 at half-time and Tynedale went back in front after 50 minutes with a try by full back Chris Harris. But an interception sparked a fourtry spree for Blackheath. The hosts’ only reply was a late try by winger Matty Horrocks, converted by Joel Hodgson, who had gone on for Gavin Beasley.
Westoe slipped from second to fifth in National Two North when they lost 34-5 at Loughborough.
A chargedown try by centre James Clark had them level at 5-5, but with the division’s top try scorer, Craig Holland, scoring a first half hat-trick it was all over by half-time.
West Hartlepool squandered the chance of a second bonus point at Altrincham Kersal, where they scored four tries and trailed by only six points until they conceded a last-minute penalty.
Backchat compounded the error, making it easier for the hosts to stretch the margin to 33-24.
West scored three tries from catch-and-drive line-outs, two in the first half from locks Tom Dixon and Andrew Davies keeping the deficit down to 19-12 with Stu Waites landing a conversion from the touchline. Dixon went over again and West went ahead when Waites was stopped just short but off-loaded to Paul Moss, who touched down and added the conversion.
Altrincham came back with two penalties then with five minutes left they capitalised on a dropped ball on halfway, hacking on to score.
Middlesbrough suffered an agonising 29-27 defeat at Malton and Norton, who charged down what would have been the last kick of the game for a flanker to race 55 metres to score.
Boro played well to lead 24- 3 at half-time, weathering Malton’s high-speed opening for fly half Jack Bircham to drop a goal then convert three tries in the last 15 minutes of the half.
Centre Ross Bellerby finished a well-worked move, hooker Richard Horton powered over from ten metres and winger Josh Evans scored in the corner.
But ten minutes into the second half the speedy home backs enjoyed a purple patch with three converted tries in eight minutes.
Boro got back on top and 20 minutes of pressure was finally rewarded with a penalty which put them back in front with two minutes left.
But the defeat saw them slip two points behind Wheatley Hills in the battle for the North One East promotion play-off spot.
Billingham are 14 points clear after a 31-12 home win against Morpeth, while Percy Park’s hopes of getting into the frame were dented by a 19- 10 defeat at Sheffield.
Darlington’s lead at the top of D and N One was cut to nine points when they lost 33- 31 at Horden, for whom fly half Andrew Turner clinched victory with two late penalties.
The decider was from halfway.
Darlington stretched a 12-10 half-time lead to 24-13 before Horden scored two tries in four minutes midway through the second half.
Scrum half Mark Bladwin then scored his second try for Darlington, flanker Richard Parker having also touched down twice from driving mauls, while winger David Mackfall beat three men on a 60-metre run to the line.
It was not enough, but the two bonus points ensured that two more wins should still be enough. They are at home this week to Acklam, who lost 30- 8 at Stockton.
A Matt Wootten break resulted in an early try by winger Danny Phinn and after a Jeremy Good penalty centre Ritchie Brown won the ball at the breakdown and found Scott Powell.
The No 8 made good ground before unleashing winger Simon Crozier, who outpaced the defence to score.
Acklam fought back but wasted three good chances through handling errors before finally scoring just on half-time.
A penalty got the gap down to 13-8 as Acklam continued to dominate for the first 15 minutes of the second half. The turning point came when Stockton were awarded a free kick at a scrum ten yards from their own line.
Scrum half Rob Green tapped the ball to spark a strong attack and when a penalty was also taken quickly flanker Phil Douglas scored.
After 65 minutes Brown burst through three tackles to score and Crozier crossed again just before the end.