Blackheath are second in National League One after a 39-24 win over Darlington Mowden Park, writes Graham Cox.
Club controlled the game from start to finish, outscoring their opponents five tries to four.
Blackheath mastered the conditions better. Darlington struggled for accuracy in a wind that gusted up to 40mph and an overcooked pass sailed over the head of second-row Talite Vaioleti for a grateful Markus Burcham to pick up and feed Mark Cooke, the inside-centre dragging a last-ditch tackler with him as he reached out over the goal-line.
Moments later, Josh Davies judged a beautiful touch kick to put the hosts within a few metres of the try-line. As the visitors dithered at the line-out to concede the scrum put-in, Cooke sliced through the midfield for a second score and a 14-0 lead with just 12 minutes played.
Gradually Mowden began to find some territory hooker Chris Wood crashed over in the 26th minute. But handling errors plagued the hosts.
Blackheath’s Freddie Owen drove over on the half-hour. Joe Tarrant watched his conversion loop in the teeth of the gale before it struck the upright and bounced the wrong side – his only blemish on the way to kicking 12 points in the most testing of conditions.
A wonderfully struck 35-metre penalty from the Club fly-half extended their advantage to 22-5 at the break.
Mowden fly-half Garry Law wrestled his way across to pull another try back as the visitors probed the Blackheath goal-line after the re-start.
Another Tarrant strike from distance – followed on the hour mark by a penalty try as Mowden twisted and folded under pressure from the Club pack – kept the hosts 32-12 in front.
Law responded with his second try as Mowden broke sharply down the left flank, and a late score from prop Jordon Poole ensured the visitors a bonus point.
Sandwiched between was the best try of the match as Tarrant made the line-break and Jake Lloyd sent Geoff Griffiths across in the left corner.
Blackheath go to Esher on Saturday (3pm kick-off).
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