Rugby union: Blackheath end losing streak with 18-14 win at Bishop’s Stortford


Not pretty, but the win Blackheath desperately wanted to halt their decline down the National League One table was achieved at Bishop’s Stortford at the weekend. However, they had to work mighty hard for their 18-14 victory.

Having put daylight between the sides with an 11-point advantage soon after the restart following the break, the Club had to withstand a number of Stortford assaults, the concession of nine second-half penalties not helping their cause, but despite a late try from the Hertfordshire club they hung on to win.

Blackheath ended a run of five straight league losses.

Jake Hennessey gave the visitors the early lead, the full-back slotting an eighth minute penalty as Stort were caught offside but the advantage was soon wiped out with interest, as a charged-down kick from defence was pounced upon by the hosts, second-row Alex Wardell grounding for a converted try.

Matt Dalrymple (pictured) arrived in place of the unfortunate Mark Cooke, the fly-half forced off early with a shoulder injury, in time to strike a long-range penalty, but both sides struggled to build sustained pressure.

As the interval approached, Blackheath found some continuity, with the ball moving through numerous hands, including Sam Hill’s, who had a fine game at inside-centre in his final Club appearance, and as play moved out wide, Alex Noot cut an angle inside to score. Dalrymple converted for a 13-7 lead to the visitors at the break.

The advantage was extended nine minutes after the restart as Tom Baldwin was driven across following a penalty to touch, but it was the last time Blackheath managed a foothold.

At The Utilita in September, two late Stortford tries had overturned a 10-point advantage, but although the hosts’ pressure eventually told, with fly-half Matthew Riddington crossing and adding his second conversion, Blackheath held firm for the win.

“We’re extremely pleased with that,” said Club skipper Ed Taylor. “Stortford is a very tough place to come to.

“We analyse the defences in the league, and currently we have the third best record. Clearly we knew we had to come here and back that up.

“I felt the pack really fronted up today. Our scrum, our maul in attack and defence really held the ball, and that was the basis of our victory.”

National League One takes a break now for the festive period.

Blackheath are back in action on January 6 when they head to the north-west to take on Sedgley Park, before welcoming Leicester Lions to The Utilita the following Saturday.

Wimbledon’s National 2 East struggles continued as they lost 21-20 at Barnes. The Dons’ try-scorers were Paul Hendry (two), Malek Touilzak and Bradley Pinkham.


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