Rugby union: Blackheath victorious over Sedgley Park as Dons also record a win


Blackheath collected a 25-15 home win over Sedgley Park on Saturday in a contest dominated by a gusty crossfield wind and littered with penalties, a majority against the visitors.

Back in National League 1 after a gap of 10 years, the Tigers had started the 2023-24 campaign in fine form and were a strong fourth place at the turn of the year, until Blackheath’s 24-17 win at Park Lane in early January signalled a decline which saw them lose seven of their nine matches since, dropping them to ninth place, one behind their hosts.

Trailing 18-3 on the hour-mark, the Lancastrians looked to be heading for a further defeat, but pouncing on Blackheath errors, two tries clawed them back within three points with just 10 minutes remaining.

A lost lineout, followed by an offside, surrendered a promising attacking platform for the hosts, and as Nathan Pope found a line through the Club defence, the outside-centre released Andy Riley, the wing stepped inside for the try.

Nine minutes later, a wayward pass was snapped up by Oli Leatherbarrow, the blind-side offloading for right-wing William Bradley to scamper under the posts, and with the simple conversion, the visitors were within range.

Almost straight from the restart, needless backchat gave Blackheath a close-range lineout, and as Tom Stradwick collected Alex Witchell’s throw, Billy Harding peeled away on the blind-side to score.

Matt Dalrymple had missed with a seemingly straightforward penalty a few moments before, nothing was simple in this wind, but now the replacement fly-half judged the conditions perfectly to add a fine conversion for a 10-point cushion the Club maintained to the final whistle.

It was a deserved victory though for the side who had the better of an untidy stop-start game.

An exchange of penalties left the score level at 3-3 on 30 minutes, but then as Matt Armstrong used his height and strength to good effect on the left-wing, and Archie Holland found a lovely offload, Leo Fielding stumbled his way over the goal-line for the first try, converted by Tom Ffitch.

Ben Charnock, in at number eight for the injured Tom Baldwin, made a couple of useful breaks, and Paul Schroter turned possession to thwart a Sedge attack.

Jack Daly took an awkward pass off lineout ball, the scrum-half tunnelled through the cover for Mark Cooke to send Holland rumbling over to cap a storming 50th Club appearance by the tight-head – ever-present since his debut in September 2022 – and a 15-3 lead at the break.

Ffitch added his second penalty soon after the restart, and with an increasing ascendancy at the set-piece, particularly the scrum where Holland, Will Davis and later debutant Henry Paul were impressive, Blackheath looked in control until a couple of lapses opened the door for the visitors.

It was Blackheath who showed the necessary composure in the closing stages, to see themselves to victory.

Blackheath make their final away trip of the season to Rosslyn Park (3pm) on Saturday.

Their final game is at home to Taunton on April 27.

Wimbledon picked up just their fifth win in National League 2 East as they won 57-7 at rock bottom North Walsham.

The Dons host Worthing on Saturday.


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