A THOROUGHLY miserable day for the region’s top clubs saw Blaydon’s promotion hopes suffer a double blow, falling on the Lancashire coast to Fylde as National One leaders Ealing mounted a successful comeback at Tynedale.
That more than doubled the gap at the top to seven points, Blaydon beaten 23-19 by Fylde in a result which brought to an end their 11-game winning streak.
Rosslyn Park’s 104-5 thrashing of bottom side Cambridge also drew the third-placed outfit closer to Blaydon who, despite the close scoreline, were never in front and only secured their losing bonus point through Jason Smithson’s 80th-minute try.
Tommy Banks (pictured left) and Nathan Bailey had scored their previous two touch-downs, one in each half, but a brace from second-row Paul Arnold and one each for Chris Briers and Simon Griffiths handed the home side a maximum five-point haul.
A Tynedale win at home to Ealing would have been music to Blaydon’s ears and for much of the afternoon in Corbridge it seemed to be on the cards, Tyne going 15-0 up through two Peter Moralee tries in the opening half-hour.
Ex-Tynedale back-rower Sam Shires found himself in the sin-bin, but two tries from prolific wing Phil Chesters hauled Ealing back into it.
Sam Reynolds crossed for Tynedale’s third as the possibility of a shock loomed, but two tries in three minutes sealed a 25-22 triumph for the table-toppers.
On a day of disappointments, Darlington Mowden Park’s chances of a promotion play-off spot in National Two North took a dent, a 78th-minute try handing Dudley Kingswinford an 18-15 home win despite five-pointers from Max Connon and Shaun McCartney.
Mowden’s main challengers, Hull Ionians, filled their boots against struggling Westoe in a 33-8 Wood Terrace win, one which leaves the Shieldsmen now eight points from safety.
In National Three North the outlook was no better as Percy Park succumbed to a scrappy 6-3 loss at Lymm and West Hartlepool’s relegation worries deepened with a 33-10 home defeat to Sandal.
Even in North One East the region’s four teams were all beaten, and you had to dip down to Durham and Northumberland One to find a local winner as leaders Alnwick beat Ryton 48-3.