Rugby Union: Leeds Tykes 27 Blackheath 25 – Club’s struggles in National 1 continue after seventh reverse of campaign

BY GRAHAM COX

Yet another tight climax, and yet again Blackheath found themselves on the wrong end of the final scoreline.

Steve Leonard had peeled off the side of a maul to crash over the goal-line in the 76th minute to give the Club the lead for the first time in the contest, Sam Evans striking a decent conversion to extend the advantage to three points.

But Leeds fly-half Kieran Davies was soon breaking attempted tackles through the Club’s midfield to take play back into opposition territory.

Despite winning a kickable penalty to earn his side a draw, Tykes skipper Will Smith directed his chief playmaker to send the ball to the corner, and as Leeds kept the ball alive through numerous phases, and sucked in numbers, space opened up for Davies to cross for the decisive score.

In many ways though, Blackheath lost this game in the first period.

With rain sweeping in on a stiff breeze, the opening was punctuated by errors, but with Nick Foster in the sin bin in the 23rd minute for a deliberate knock on, Leeds were quick to exploit the extra space, first sending left-wing Harry Jukes across, before centre Ben Dixon also went over for a 10-0 lead on the half-hour.

Freddie Gabbitass responded with a penalty, and the Club fly-half’s hoof forward on 38 minutes bounced unkindly for the Leeds defence allowing Foster to announce his re-appearance by grounding for an opportunistic try.

Nevertheless, Blackheath’s good fortune was short-lived as a clumsy penalty from the restart handed Leeds the opportunity for tight-head Xavier Valentine to drive over, and with Davies now finding his range with the conversion, Blackheath were left to play catch-up at 17-8 at the break.

And catch up they did – eventually.  A nice diagonal run and offload from Alex Brown saw Daniel Dass dive over on 47 minutes, only for the nine-point margin to be restored as Tykes’ blind-side Trystan Lloyd bulldozed across, following a series of penalties as Blackheath continually went off their feet.

However, on 66 minutes, Ed Taylor received lineout ball for the Club pack to pick and drive their way infield, Nathan Morris grounding next to the uprights, and although Gabbitass’ conversion was charged down, and two golden lineout chances were blown, Taylor took clean ball on a third throw for Leonard’s try with just four minutes to spare.

Too many though for Blackheath to hold their nerve.

Blackheath return to home soil for the visit of Taunton on Saturday, with an earlier kick-off time at Well Hall of 2.30 pm

Leeds Tykes

Tries: Dukes 23, Dixon 30, Valentine 39, Lloyd 61, Davies 79
Conv: Davies 39

Blackheath

Tries: Foster 38, Dass 47, Morris 66, Leonard 76
Conv: Evans 76
Pens: Gabbitass 37

 


 

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