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Bishop Auckland 1st XV 13 v Blyth 16

Bishop were at home to Blyth who are always tough opposition and this game proved no different. With a disappointing performance the previous week Bishop needed to up their game and up their game they did. From the start Bishop looked lively matching Blyth who are a large physical team and had them on the back foot for much of the first half. Tombling put the first points on the board with Blyth being offside but Bishop committed the same offence and Blyth levelled the scores 3-3. The only criticism of Bishop was that their penalty count was once again too high conceding 11 penalties to Blyth's 5 in the first half. With the majority of the game being played 15 yards inside each half scoring was low but Blyth managed to kick two further penalties to take the half time score 3-9. Prior to half time Bishop were forced to shuffle their pack with prop Alex Fraser coming off injured and Jack Tindle moving to prop with Simon Callan coming on as flanker.

Bishop once again showed their intent at the start of the second half. From a scrum Bishop had a latch and drive with Luke Bryan-Victory making a welcome return to the team and putting in an excellent shift scored the try for Bishop, Tombling making the conversion 10-9.

Bishop were now starting to run the ball and were pressing Blyth back in their 22 Bishop flanker Michael Beach was everywhere making tackle after tackle and not giving Blyth any time to settle on the ball. Bishop's penalty count was vastly improved and Blyth were now getting penalised and from one of the penalties Tombling converted to give Bishop a slender lead. 13-9. Bishop almost scored a try but Blyth defended well and were able to clear their lines. It was now Blyth's turn to press and to a man Bishop were fully committed in every tackle, ruck and maul. Bishop thought they had cleared their lines but were penalised for taking it back into their own 22 and kicking it out on the full. From the scrum Blyth pressed home their advantage of having a bigger pack and scrambled a try which was converted 13-16. Despite Bishop's best efforts they were unable to get on the score sheet again and the game finished 13-16 in Blyth's favour.

This was a vastly improved performance and Bishop need to build on this to turn these narrow defeats into wins, but can be rightly proud of themselves for the effort and commitment they put into this performance.

Michael Hole 26th September 2011

U15s Win

Billingham U15s 17 Bishop Auckland U15s 22

Bishop Auckland Rugby Club's Under 15 team travelled to Billingham for their first away match of the season. Billingham began the game the better, putting a lot of pressure on Bishop through their forwards, but Bishop's tackling was enough to hold them out for a long period, with Ben Hoggart and Aiden Mounsey covering well. The half was nearing its close before Billingham finally got on the scoresheet with a try. Up till now, Bishop had been mainly defending, but they were able to mount an attack and after a ruck close to the line, Michael Dunn picked up and drove over from short range. At the break, the game was tied up at 5 - 5.

In the second half, Bishop's forward play improved, hooker Sonny Maan was seldom troubled in the scrums and the other forwards' rucking and mauling improved with Jordan Day and Josh Leonard prominent. Billingham however took the lead again with a converted try before Bishop fought back with Dunn scoring a try almost identical to his first. Bishop's backs now got in on the act, Mounsey had a powerful run which came to nothing; but when Sam McIvor made 60 metres, breaking through a number of tackles, Anth Young was on hand to collect the offload and touch down. Rob Hill had a couple of powerful runs before Matty Mitchell, having moved into the backs at half time, scored with a solo effort; Young added an impressive conversion from wide out. Billingham were not yet done and scored another try after Bishop's defence lost concentration. The home side attacked again as time ran out, but Bishop held out for a good win 22 - 7.

Again, the Bishop performance was characterised by good teamwork and with a few rough edges to smooth off, they will only get better as the season goes along.

Team: Michael Dunn, Sonny Maan, Tom Clarke, Jordan McCabe, Matthew Mitchell, Josh Leonard, Ben Hoggart, Rob Hill, Sam McIvor, Anth Young, Liam Higgins, Aiden Mounsey, Jordan Day, Connor Johnstone, Matthew Borrowdale, Connor Hodgson

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