Rugby union: Club win local tussle with Tonbridge Juddians

BY GRAHAM COX

Blackheath recorded their second victory of the season in National League 1 with a 23-21 win at Tonbridge Juddians on Saturday.

Blackheath overturned a 12-point half-time deficit in the first-ever league meeting between the two clubs.

Club looked to be heading for a demoralising sixth defeat of the campaign but three tries and the unwavering left boot of Sam Evans edged them home in a gripping finale.

The first period at The Slade firmly belonged with the hosts.

Blackheath have been making a habit of conceding early scores and TJ skipper Matt Walsh stormed down the left flank for a try on just four minutes.

Murray Galbraith-Lowe came close to adding a second at the end of the first quarter, as he brushed off tackles to get near to the goal-line, but although Blackheath retrieved possession, they held on in front of the uprights for Tom White to convert an easy penalty.

Evans missed a relatively straightforward attempt at the other end, the Club’s fly-half making amends a few moments later as TJs continually infringed, but it was cancelled with interest as Galbraith-Lowe regathered his own chip, this time the full-back going the distance for a converted try.

To compound their frustration, Blackheath finished the half by losing their own lineout, this time having spurned three points on offer, to trail 15-3 at the interval.

With the engine re-stoked by bench replacements, including notable debuts for Daniel Dass and Tom Georgiou in the back-row and centre respectively, it was two of the old dependables, with 233 appearances between them, who steamed over the try-line.

With Juddian temporarily reduced to 13-men after adding to their eight first period infringements, the additional space allowed Harry Fry to squeeze over in the left corner on 51 minutes.

Marcus Kershaw crossed the goal-line soon after, only for a great tackle to dislodge possession before grounding, but Blackheath’s handling moves, so lateral prior to the break, now found penetration. Ollie Claxton sent Jake Lloyd over next to the posts on the hour mark, Evans’ conversion levelling the scores.

White’s second penalty restored the advantage for the hosts, before it was TJs turn to lose their own lineout, and as a neat grubber threaded the ball through Judds’ defence, Lloyd collected to complete his brace, and put Blackheath ahead for the first time.

White, such a reliable force for TJs, nudged his side in front once more on 74 minutes with a fine effort, as Blackheath infringed following a horrible attempted clearance, but it was TJs who coughed up the final penalty, and from an equally awkward angle Evans held his nerve to strike the final blow.

Blackheath return to home soil on Saturday for the visit of Plymouth Albion (3pm).

 


 

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