Blackheath made it six wins out of seven National League One outings with a 31-3 home win over Old Albanian last weekend, writes Graham Cox.
And Club can guarantee moving up a place in the standings if they defeat Darlington Mowden Park at Well Hall on Saturday (3pm kick-off).
Blackheath’s latest victory will not be remembered as a classic. It was punctuated by numerous errors and penalties conceded by both sides, but it was Old Albanian who ended up paying the dearer price.
Blackheath’s defence was heavily tested, but only after they had taken the initiative with two early tries.
With Albanian conceding three penalties in the opening four minutes, as well as missing a couple of kicks to touch, Blackheath found themselves with field position. As the Club pack, which included both Matt Miles and Harry Bate playing against their former club, drove forward off line-out ball, Tom Baldwin crashed across for the first score.
Leo Fielding came into the three-quarter line from full-back to receive Markus Burcham’s beautifully timed pass following a scrum on halfway, as Jake Lloyd crossed for a second. Joe Tarrant added both conversions from out wide for a 14-0 lead.
Tom Bednall responded with a long-range penalty as the Club were penalised for holding on, but even a succession of lineouts close to the hosts’ goalline brought no return for the visitors. The Albanian scrum was also solid, but with Josh Davies and Tarrant marshalling from half-back the Club defence held firm and a breakaway move shortly before the interval was thwarted as Burcham and Mark Cooke, both superb in the Club midfield, mopped up the danger.
The second period followed in a similar pattern as Blackheath opened with a three-try burst.
A fumble at the restart handed the Club a scrum from which Tarrant found a gap to slip over, and the bonus point try came as another penalty found its way to touch. James Hallam, on his home debut, crashed over from close-range.
Fielding released Davies, the scrum-half sprinting down the right touchline to put the Club out of sight in the 51st minute before the visitors dominated possession and territory, once again to no avail.
“I’m delighted with the five points,” said Club head coach James Shanahan. “We took our chances well and scored five good tries.
“I’m disappointed we didn’t execute the plans we practised in training and didn’t respect the ball well enough, which gave away too much possession. Our defence was excellent. Just a pity we had to do so much of it.”
Wimbledon’s wait for a first National League 2 South win continues as they lost 25-20 at Clifton, writes Jim Green.
The Dons produced an excellent converted try by the dangerous Dan Cheers but trailed 15-7 at the interval.
Wimbledon’s cause was not helped by the number eight Daniel Laventure going off with a head injury with the score at 22-7.
The Dons’ workrate never faltered and they were driven on by locks Dylan Flashman and John Okafor. That pressure was rewarded with a well-taken penalty by James Doe. Scrum-half Sam Waltier scored an excellent try – converted by Doe – to make the score 22 -17.
Clifton’s scrum earned a penalty to extend their lead to 25-7 but the visitors brought the deficit back down to five points as they kicked a penalty.
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