Rugby union: Blackheath take big step to safety after defeating National 1 leaders Chinnor


Blackheath put further distance between themselves and the National League 1 drop zone after a 22-17 victory over Chinnor.

It was an outstanding performance from Blackheath, who also won at Cinderford the weekend before, as they halted a run which had seen four successive home defeats.

The result ended a sequence of nine straight wins for league leaders Chinnor, inflicting a significant blow to the Oxfordshire side’s aspirations for a place in the Championship.

It was an ominous start for the hosts though – as they went behind early on.

With only three minutes played, Chinnor right-wing Josh Gillespie showed strength to force his way over in the right corner for a try, converted well by centre James Bourton.

But at the other end, Club second-row Tom Everard demonstrated equal power to drive under the uprights, after Tom Baldwin and Will Davis had made the initial inroads.

Blackheath got close again as they went through the phases until an accidental offside spoiled progress.

Tom Baldwin

Only a Tom Ffitch tap-tackle on Chinnor scrum-half Luke Carter, and the first of two brilliant turnovers by Noah Sloot, playing at open-side, also thwarted the visitors.

Chinnor brought the power of their driving maul into effect on 27 minutes, as hooker Alun Walker crashed over, but again it was to be a short-lived lead.

As the Club pack, led by Baldwin at number eight, consistently made effective carries, and probed the opposition defence, Davis, enjoying an excellent game at loose-head, showed great dexterity to reach over his head to touch down next to the posts, Ffitch’s simple conversion gave Blackheath a 14-12 interval lead.

The advantage increased to seven points within three minutes of the restart, as Bill Harding’s accuracy at the lineout saw Blackheath recycle across field, before Chinnor ran out of defenders and Markus Burcham slipped over in the corner.

Ball lost forward on the goal-line denied the visitors what looked a certain try, and Blackheath’s tackling needed to persist in its ferocity – one notable effort from Andy Denham drove the ball-carrier metres backwards – but the hosts continued to exploit their opportunities as Ffitch added another three points.

A series of assaults from four close-range lineouts were repelled with heroic defence, until Chinnor lost patience, went for the quick tap from a free-kick, only to be held up in-goal, allowing the hosts an exit.

In the closing stages, Chinnor’s composure returned, and this time the lineout maul saw fly-half Nick Smith over on the blind-side, but Blackheath’s rearguard efforts had sucked time out of the game, and the hosts held on for the remaining four minutes for an impressive win.

Will Davis

Blackheath are at home once again on Saturday as they welcome Plymouth Albion to The Utilita (3pm).

Wimbledon picked up their fourth victory of the National League 2 East season as they won 31-27 at Bury St Edmunds.

The Dons went 5-0 down shortly after the start but then two close-quarter tries by flanker Dave Aniebonam, after good ball retention by the forwards, both converted by number 10 Edward Morgan, put them into a 14-5 lead.

Bury St Edmunds came back strongly with tries from Patrick Robinson and Joseph Collier, one of them converted byt Benjamin Penfold, to put them ahead 17-14 at half-time.

They went further in front 10 minutes after the break after Levi Roper’s try with Penfold once again converting.

Morgan pulled the Dons back to 24-17 with a well-struck penalty.

With just 10 minutes remaining he then levelled the score with a converted try, only for a Bury penalty goal to give them a 27-24 lead with just two minutes to go.

Dons took the restart cleanly and put sustained pressure on the Bury 22. From there a great run by lock Jake Cleet took them to five metres out and Morgan, after further intense pressure by the pack, was able to to dart through and score.

Morgan, who has scored 129 points this season, converted with the last play of the game.

Wimbledon, 12th in the 14-club division, are at home to fifth-placed Henley on Saturday.


Main Pic: Andy Denham

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