League leaders Blackheath make their forward power tell against North Walsham

The side sitting second from bottom of National League Two East, facing the club 12 points clear at the top, will rightly feel mighty disappointed with the end result of this contest.

North Walsham fought magnificently, leading from the fifth to the 58th minute, their backs slicing through the Blackheath defences and making the visitors’ tackling look decidedly ordinary.

In the end, however, the Club’s forward power took control, giving Blackheath the full quota of five league points while the Norfolk club finished empty-handed.

The first quarter belonged entirely to the hosts. A soft penalty gave the Vikings a close-range lineout, from which centre George Loose joined the maul to claim the opening score and, moments later, full-back Dan Smith was scything through the cover for a second try.

Fly-half Matt Hodgson added the conversion, and a 45-metre penalty, and to the delight of the vocal home support their team held a 15-point lead on 18 minutes.

The hosts had no answer to the Club scrum, which consistently drove the opposition backwards and as the penalties came the visitors opted for the set-piece five-metres from the Walsh goal-line, from which Tom Baldwin touched down at the base.

Tom Stradwick, making a storming return from injury, powered across for a second converted try, following a short lineout, and despite minimal territory, Blackheath narrowed the deficit to a single point at the break.

The Vikings again took the initiative after the restart. Scrum-half Connor Dudley sped over on 43 minutes, put through by the impressive Hodgson, who also converted.

Almost immediately, Jake Hennessey was caught just short of the try-line, the Club outside-centre popping the ball up for Stradwick to claim his second try, but Hodgson’s second penalty kept the hosts four points ahead.

As the steady drizzle intensified, Blackheath’s pack once again took the upper hand. Freddie Owen drove over from lineout ball, followed by Chris Bell diving over after huge pressure under the uprights, Oli Burgess’ fifth conversion extended the Club’s advantage to 10 points.

The hosts attacked desperately in the closing moments, searching for a fourth try, even spurning an easy three points in the process which would have yielded one league point. All to no avail as, this time, Blackheath’s defence stood firm, denying Walsh reward, and claiming an 11th successive win.

Blackheath return to Well Hall on Saturday for the visit of Tonbridge Juddians.

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