SHIELDS faced another tough encounter at home this weekend against high-flying Blyth – and it really was a game of two halves.
From a Shields perspective, the less said about the first half the better.
Blyth ran at will using their pace in the backs and quick hands to rip through the Shields line.
Shields in the first half had no answer and when they did have the ball, they consistently kicked the ball back to Blyth, which played exactly into the visitors hands allowing them to utilise their speed to even greater effect.
Shields did build a brief period of pressure towards the second half when they finally kept ball in hand.
The resulting pressure led to debutant Josh Roe touching down in the corner.
Although there was some doubt over whether the try had been scored, the referee decided to award the try after consultation with the linesman.
By half-time, Blyth had secured the bonus point and Shields looked to be dead and buried.
However, the second half Shields galvanised, and showed real character and determination.
The Shields pack led the charge. Substitute Carl Cramman came on and steadied the Shields scrum, Dave Hardy in the second row made some powerful runs.
The second half also saw a resurgent Mark Hall, finally showing what he is capable of.
Hall smashed his way over the gain line on frequent occasions dragging several Blyth defenders with him each time creating quick ball for Shields to exploit.
The try eventually came when a wily Tony Hansen spotted a gap down the blindside and leapt his way over for a good score.
Shields continued from the kick off to pound at the Blyth defence, and it was clear Blyth had been shaken by the Shields assault.
Unfortunately for Shields, after several more powerful forward charges deep inside the Blyth half, a turnover resulted.
Blyth attacked superbly, offloading well and scored under the posts effectively ending the Shields comeback.
From this point, Shields began to lose their shape, which allowed Blyth again to score several more tires to make a resounding victory for the visitors.
In conclusion, despite a decent second half showing, the score line didn’t flatter Blyth.
And it could have been more had Blyth been more clinical and had it not been for a few good cover tackles.
It was essentially the same old story for Shields, good potential but only in brief periods.
This weekend, Shields travel for what promises to be a great encounter against Wallsend in a derby match.