Rugby – Shanahan: Good win, after two poor performances

Fylde 19 Blackheath 26

Not the most serene of performances, but a welcome victory before National League One takes a week’s break, writes Graham Cox.

Blackheath led from the ninth minute, but were never allowed to settle by a Fylde side who kept pecking back at the advantage and whose 69th minute try from Tom Carleton kept the Club working hard right up to the final whistle.

Blackheath head coach James Shanahan said: “I’m happy with the win, although disappointed in the manner of the result, but after two poor performances it was good to get the five points away from home against a spirited Fylde.

“That said, this break coming after 11 games is a bit of a godsend. A chance to mend some tired and broken bodies.”

It was a good opening quarter from Blackheath. With their set-piece firmly in control, the Club dominated territory, and as Fylde infringements brought the visitors close to the opposition goal-line, Tom Baldwin grounded the ball for the first try.

However, as Blackheath were caught offside in front of their posts during Fylde’s first serious assault on 20 minutes, the Lancastrians bravely opted for the line-out, and as ball moved across field, left-wing Tom Grimes crossed out wide, reducing the deficit to two points.

Joe Tarrant slipped across from a close-range scrum after Fylde number-eight Dave Fairbrother was sin-binned for killing the ball on his goal-line, the Club fly-half’s second successful conversion bringing up his 100th point of the season. But as the period drew to a close, Blackheath’s discipline deserted them and hooker Tom Burtonwood drove over to bring the gap back to 14-12 at the break.

Blackheath again held the territorial advantage after the interval, and as Freddie Owen broke forward in the 45th minute, and Josh Davies and Baldwin made further dents in the Fylde defence, Harry Bate crossed out wide.

Twice the ball was held up over the goal-line to provide the visitors with the five-metre put-in and on the second occasion Tarrant again found the gap to score, putting the visitors 14-points clear.

However, with the Club back-line caught out of position, outside- centre Connor Wilkinson’s punt into space was met by full-back Chris Briers. Carleton glided over for the try which, with outside-half Danny Carlton’s conversion, reduced the arrears to a single score but the Club held in to win.

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