Knights 52 Blaydon 0
The Knights recorded their third consecutive fifty point win of pre-season and second clean sheet as they produced a fine second half display to power past National One outfit Blaydon.
It was, as the cliché goes, very much a game of two halves. The opening forty was quite a scrappy affair littered with indecision, errors and poor discipline. In the second period the Knights really showed their class to but Blaydon to the sword.
The home side could have been out of sight early doors had it not been for some tough officiating and relaxed finishing. Tyson Lewis, Andy Bulumakau and Ben Hunter all had tries disallowed in the opening twenty-five minutes but the visitors had their share of attacking opportunity also.
Blaydon raced out of the traps and pressured the Donny defence in the opening exchanges and actually managed to get over the line; good defence holding the ball up and preventing a score. After the initial onslaught from the visitors the Knights came into the game and when Blaydon had tight head prop Trevor Davison sent to the sin bin they began to gain the upper hand.
Following the three disallowed efforts mentioned above Will Hurrell eventually broke the deadlock. A solid scrum gave Brad Field a platform to break down the blindside and then find the powerful winger to barge over. Cusack was unable to convert from the touchline and the sides went in to the break with the score just 5-0.
The Knights emerged from the Changing rooms for the second half completely revitalized and produced the best forty minutes of rugby of pre-season thus far.
Four tries in the fifteen minutes following the restart put the result beyond doubt as the Knights backs cut lose on a lovely afternoon for rugby at Caste Park. Tyson Lewis began the second half scoring and had a big part to play in Andy Bulumakau’s try moments later. Glen Young was over shortly after before Will Hurrell picked up his second of the afternoon.
Clive and the playing staff rung the changes and will have been encouraged to see stalwarts Challinor, Quigley and Shaw makes successful returns to action with Shaw adding to the Knights total just after the hour mark.
Credit must go to Blaydon who could have rolled over at this point but instead rallied and prevented any further Knights scores till the very late stages of the game.
In the final five minutes Dougie Flockhart finished a nice starter move from a scrum in the visitors 22m and then Jim Wigglesworth rounded off the afternoon to score on his debut after MichaeL Heaney created a gap from a quick tap penalty.
On the whole a very impressive finish to pre-season with a number of players putting their hand up for starting berth versus London Welsh next Saturday.
Starting XV; 15) Sam Edgerley, 14) Tyson Lewis, 13) Andy Bulumakau, 12) Bevon Armitage, 11) Will Hurrell, 10), Declan Cusack, 9) Brad Field 1) Richard List, 2) Ben Hunter, 3) WillGriff John, 4) Glen Kenworthy, 5) Glen Young, 6) Latu Makaafi, 7) Michael Hills ©, 8) Ollie Stedman.
Replacements; 16) Jack Bergmanas 17) Ted Stagg, 18) Jake Armstrong, 19) Matt Challinor, 20) Mat Clark, 21) Dougie Flockhart, 22) Michael Heaney, Blank) Joe Sproston, Blank) Colin Quigley, Blank) Joe Maksymiw, Blank) Alex Shaw, Blank) Jack Barnard, Blank) Jim Wigglesworth. (all used)
Tries; Hurrell 28’ 56’, Lewis 42’, Bulumakau 45’, Young 52’, Shaw 62’, Flockhart 76’, Wigglesworth 80’
Conv; Cusack 42’ 45’ 56’ Flockhart 62’ 76’ 80’