National League Two North: Blaydon 35 Otley 24

A TRY in the last minute of normal time by winger Dan Marshall put any chances of Otley pulling off an away win beyond them.

But a mistake in the first minute that brought them back for a scrum on the centre spot to a degree set the tone for the visitors' game.

Although there were flashes of the game-plan that helped Otley beat Chester the previous week, so were the errors that bedevil their away form.

After the initial scrum, the hosts made their way upfield, and Jack Beckwith went over in the left-hand corner.

For the rest of the first quarter, Otley were in Blaydon's half, and their persistence paid off when Christian Pollock went over in the opposite corner.

Nice passes were made by George Burkinshaw and Joe Graham in the lead up, and Joe Rowntree added the conversion, although two penalties by Joe Whyman helped Blaydon back into the lead after 30 minutes.

Although the hosts continued to press, Otley did have their chances.

A run by Jack Mackie was spoilt by the forwards crossing, resulting in a Blaydon penalty, and the home side extended their lead after some stout defence on Otley's line.

Jack Scott-Paul had to be substituted following a mouth injury, and Simon Willett was adjudged to have been concussed.

Beckwith then scored his second try, with Whyman's conversion making the half-time score 18-7.

Just two minutes into the second period, Will Rigg stole the ball on halfway, Nick Coupland breaking a tackle and running 30 metres before putting Henry Roberts in at the corner for Rowntree to add the extras.

But Blaydon's response was immediate, with Otley trying to play the kick-off out of their 22 but holding onto the ball for too long, with Whyman reaping the penalty rewards.

Blaydon extended their lead in the 53rd minute after Otley were penalised for pulling down, with Matt Thompson peeling off the back of the resultant rolling maul to score.

The visitors hit back through hooker Joe Graham in the right-hand corner, and six minutes later Paul Petchey broke at speed from the tail of a line-out on a diagonal run to put Mackie over.

With just four points between the sides, it was anybody's game, but Otley suffered from white-line fever after getting the ball into space along the line, only to knock it on.

Both sides suffered from losing line-outs, although how Otley managed to lose three on the bounce is mystifying.

Their fate was sealed when substitute Joel Matavesi came storming through, having a picked up a loose ball, with Marshall and Whyman keeping the scorers busy.

Rowntree's two conversions keeps him fourth in the National League Two North's leading points scorers, which doubtless vindicates his decision to move up a division.