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Banks double helps Blaydon see off tricky Cinderford
CENTRE Tom Banks starred with two tries for Blaydon as they won 24-14 at home to a Cinderford side who enjoyed more than 60 per cent of the possession.
Next to the bottom of National One, the visitors had a big, strong pack but could make little use of the ball and in only seven visits to their half Blaydon scored four tries.
The other centre, Tom Grimes, also looked sharp as Blaydon took a 17-0 lead before Cinderford replied with a try just before half-time.
After coming under pressure for the first 20 minutes Blaydon went ahead when Banks made a break and lock Keith Laughlin was driven over.
Banks again showed his strength in scoring the second from halfway then No 8 Jason Smithson finished a catch-and-drive.
The four-try bonus was secured straight after half-time after prop James Hallam made 20 metres from a line-out then Grimes made a fine break before sending Banks over from 40 metres.
Andrew Baggett added his second conversion and, although their struggles up front weren't helped by replacing two front row men after 56 minutes, Blaydon conceded only one more try with Ben Morris and Gavin Jones doing sterling work in the back row.
Injuries created some concern, but hooker Matt Hall is back in training and hopes to resume soon.
Depleted Tynedale would be grateful that the three teams below them all lost as they went down 38-3 at Fylde after taking an early lead through Craig Willis.
Even though their scrum half was sent off for a dangerous tackle just before half-time, Fylde scored four tries in 16 minutes in the second half.
Billingham suffered a third successive defeat in National Three North, losing 33-5 at Stockport to slip to fourth from bottom. Westoe trailed only 22-17 at the break away to Sale FC, but lost 55-17.
Middlesbrough climbed off the bottom of North One East with a 29-10 home win against Northern, despite the lack of a goal-kicker.
Full back Matthew Todd converted the first try after four minutes, but then missed two penalties before three more kickers were tried.
Skipper Rob Bellerby converted the fifth and final try as his return from injury made a big difference with Boro showing renewed spirit from the outset.
Early pressure produced a try for lock Phil Harland but the next 30 minutes were fairly even with Northern fly half Donal Collins kicking a penalty.
Boro pulled away either side of half-time with tries by scrum half Connor Foley and hooker Ashley Kearney, who finished a move in the corner.
A good tackle by Rhys Kilbride resulted in a loose ball for Foley's try and the winger also made the running for a try by Todd before scoring the final one himself straight after Northern scored through scrum half Sam Thorn.
West Hartlepool lost 32-17 at Cleckheaton, although the try count was only 4-3 with West's trio all coming from open play, while the hosts scored three times from catch-and-drives.
The first two were scored within 20 minutes but West had the gap down to 12-5 at half-time and at that point were playing against 13 men following two yellow cards.
The ball was moved along the line before Andrew Cheslin's excellent inside pass sent Peter Youll over for West's try.
But Cleckheaton came out strongly after half-time and converted another catch-and-drive try before stretching the lead to 29-5 after 57 minutes.
West's enterprise was finally rewarded through tries by Adam Coates and replacement Andy Turner. Stu Waites added one conversion before Cleckheaton landed a last-minute penalty.
Durham and Northumberland One leaders Blyth came a cropper on their first meeting with another top side when they lost 52-0 at Darlington, who are now only a point behind.
Centre Adam Gardner showed his class for Darlington, scoring two of the four first half tries, while prop Dan Miller and fly half Henry Carver also touched down.
Back row man Colin Rogers broke away to score straight after the restart and grabbed a second after 65 minutes. Winger Tony Taylor, always a threat, finished a good move and coach Shaun Richardson, who went on from the bench, completed the tally. Nick Baldwin landed six out of eight conversions.