Blaydon 92-12 Vale of Lune
Vale of Lune travelled to Blaydon to take on the hosts at their impressive Crow Trees ground without a dozen players who had played a vital role in securing promotion from North One West last season.
The unavailability of such a tranche of experienced players for the opening fixture of the North Premier campaign was reflected in the final score line.
It was a crushing defeat for Vale, their heaviest league loss since going down 74-5 to New Brighton in January 1997 in a North Two fixture.
This was far from the dream start to life in North Premier, in fact it turned into something of a nightmare, that many of the Vale faithful had wished for as Blaydon systematically demolished the visitors, running in 14 tries, 11 of which were converted, on their spanking new 4G pitch in perfect conditions.
At the final whistle, with more than a hint of gallows humour, one Vale supporter observed that at least they scored more points than on their last visit which resulted in a 30-11 loss in September 1997.
Another crumb of comfort on a bleak day was that Blaydon’s all singing, all dancing, state of the art scoreboard had not yet been installed which would have added digitally to Vale’s woes.
Within three minutes of the kick off Blaydon rattled in a converted try and although Vale produced a spirited response they struggled to shackle the home side’s aspirations and by half-time they trailed 52-0.
Early in the second 40 scrum half Charlie Lomas was ideally placed to collect his try after debutant prop, Mike Bradshaw, had surged powerfully for the line; another player on debut, Will Hunt added the conversion.
Blaydon were in no mood to have their noses tweaked and in the space of nine minutes added two more converted tries, although Lomas took a quick tap penalty to nip over for an unconverted try in the 59th minute.
The final 20 minutes belonged to Blaydon, who produced tries from almost anywhere on the pitch as they put Vale to the sword, but Vale’s defensive efforts did receive a reward of sorts, because they prevented Blaydon from reaching the century mark.
All eyes will now be on Vale on Saturday when they entertain Wilmslow.