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Blaydon up for cup
BLAYDON have let it be known that they are happy to play the Durham Cup final on the appointed date of Wednesday, May 1.
The competition has not been played to a conclusion for several years, but Blaydon secretary Jim Huxley said: “We have always supported it, even if at times it has meant turning out a second team.”
They are already through to the final after being handed a walkover by Durham City, who began the season by winning their first round tie 8-6 against Gateshead. They also won their first match in North One East and have lost every one since.
The other semi-final is a repeat of what should have been last year’s final between Darlington Mowden Park and Westoe, although the South Shields club again look unlikely to fulfil the fixture.
Their rearranged National Two North match at Preston Grasshoppers is on May 4 and after giving themselves a chance of avoiding relegation through two successive wins the league will be their priority.
Durham officials have made several attempts to re-invigorate the competition, most recently by playing first round matches in August.
But Westoe declined to play the final on the scheduled date last year and Mowden said they didn’t wish to receive the trophy by default.
Blaydon had no cause to regret the absence of a goalkicker on Saturday as they scored six tries to win 32-6 at home to a Sedgley Park side who looked resigned to their fate in National One.
With four kickers injured, scrum half Andrew Davies missed the first conversion then handed over to full back Jamie Sole, who kicked one out of five.
Blaydon have no game this week and hope to have Andrew Baggett back at fly half for the trip to the one team ahead of them, Ealing, the following Saturday.
The gap is 13 points, so it’s unlikely that Blaydon can close it, but they remain confident of finishing second.
With the pitch already very wet on Saturday, light rain fell throughout but it soon became obvious that Blaydon were too strong up front for their visitors.
After falling behind to a first-minute penalty the hosts went ahead when the ball went along the line and came back for No 8 Jason Smithson to score.
The backs again showed good skills before centre James Fitzpatrick, on loan from Newcastle, forced his way over for the first of his two tries with two opponents hanging on to him.
Next came a penalty try for repeated scrum infringements and that was the only one to be converted.
Andrew Coyne, the local schoolboy making his debut, had to retire with a hamstring injury so Davies switched to fly half and made a break to set up a try for centre Charles Incledon.
Flanker Rob Bell finished off a catch-and-drive and Fitzpatrick burst through for the final try.