BY GRAHAM COX
Blackheath produced by far their best performance of the National 1 season as they won 17-13 at Rams.
Their opponents started the day fourth in the table and had only lost to leaders Rosslyn Park, who put Club to the sword a fortnight ago.
Blackheath controlled much of Saturday’s contest before digging deep to hold off a late Rams onslaught.
Tom Williams, Nathan Morris and Matt Collins gave Blackheath an early platform with their dominance of the scrum. They won two penalties, the second of which Freddie Gabbitass slotted for a 3-0 lead on seven minutes.
Rams declined an opportunity to level shortly after, opting instead for touch, but unlike in earlier games the Club pack held firm and turned over possession from the maul.
Rams scored their only try of the match from open play, Tom Vooght broke the defensive line to put fellow flanker Jamie Guttridge over.
Andrew Humberstone added the conversion, and a penalty for holding on soon after.
When Marcus Kershaw left the field only 20 minutes after returning from injury it looked, for a moment, as if Rams would start to stretch away. But a quickly-taken tap-penalty by Ollie Claxton sparked an attack which culminated in Jake Lloyd squeezing across out wide, only for the wing to look back and see the assistant referee’s flag signalling a foot in touch.
Soon after Lloyd gathered an awkwardly bouncing ball and with George Spencer and Claxton combining down the blind-side, the latter sprinted over the goal-line. Gabbitass levelled the score with the conversion.
Humberstone’s second penalty gave Rams a narrow half-time advantage but Blackheath were in the ascendency again after the restart.
Gabbitass missed an early chance to draw level.
Spencer, outstanding once again in the centre, made the telling break, cutting deep into the Rams’ defences. Freddie Owen and Nick Foster made further inroads, before Jake Hennessey sent Lloyd across for the score. Gabbitass’ touchline conversion moved Blackheath more than three points clear.
Blackheath are eighth in the table but have played a match more than all the clubs in the league. They host Sale tomorrow (3pm) in their final game of 2021.
PICTURES: TIM PITFIELD
Please make cheques payable to “MSI Media Limited” and send by post to South London Press, Unit 112, 160 Bromley Road, Catford, London SE6 2NZ
Former Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has encouraged everyone in the country who can afford to do so to buy a newspaper, and told the Downing Street press briefing: “A free country needs a free press, and the newspapers of our country are under significant financial pressure”.
So if you have enjoyed reading this story, and if you can afford to do so, we would be so grateful if you can buy our newspaper or make a donation, which will allow us to continue to bring stories like this one to you both in print and online.