Rugby union: Blackheath win at home against Cinderford but Dons suffer back-to-back losses

Blackheath have won four of their opening six matches since promotion to National League One, writes Graham Cox.

Club scored seven tries as they dominated from start to finish in last weekend’s 52-12 home victory over Cinderford. In a game played at a high tempo throughout, only a brief interval of Cinderford pressure intervened, as the hosts took their opposition apart, even enjoying the luxury of botching further opportunities.

As an early penalty found touch, Bill Harding, in his first Club outing at hooker, peeled off lineout ball to reach across the goal-line on the open side after only two minutes.

Jake Hennessey

Moments later Tom Ffitch caught the visitors with a quick tap-and-go, before a lovely step from Jake Hennessey sliced open the midfield for the full-back to claim his fourth try of the season. Blackheath were 14-0 ahead with less than six minutes played.

Ffitch added two penalties to both conversions.

Matt Armstrong gathered a Cinderford clearance, Jake Lloyd neatly trapped a low pass with his right foot, before finding Hennessey and Armstrong looped behind to send Jack Daly across for a third try, and a 25-0 lead at the break.

Armstrong, who only made the starting line-up due to the late withdrawal of Leo Fielding, was immense throughout.

Matt Armstrong

The big left-wing made ground with every touch of the ball, swatting away defenders with ease, and with Blackheath opting for a scrum from a penalty under the posts five minutes after the restart, it was he who claimed the four-try bonus, diving across out wide.

Cinderford struck back.  A tap-penalty under the posts at the far end was illegally blocked for a penalty try to be awarded.

With the hosts a man down, it was quickly followed by number-eight George Angell driving across after a penalty to touch.

Cinderford’s frustrations led to the Gloucestershire side temporarily losing a player for backchat, enabling Ffitch to further stretch Blackheath’s advantage with a third penalty on the hour.

Sam Hill

One blemish aside, the Club’s lineout hummed majestically. Harding and Ollie Walliker were accurate, with Ed Taylor, Tom Stradwick and Tom Baldwin exercising fingertip control in the line.

Following a throw on 68 minutes, Archie Holland arrived in the front-row to drive across for a fifth try.

Cinderford had won a couple of early scrum penalties, but Blackheath were more than happy to opt for the set-piece as the contest progressed.

Chris Bell performed an inch-perfect dive to stay infield and touch-down over the goal-line after the ball was shipped wide. Then, in the dying moments, a break by none other than Armstrong coming off his wing, sent Lloyd across to take the score beyond the half century.

Chris Bell

Blackheath travel to Oxfordshire to take on Chinnor tomorrow (3pm).

Wimbledon have suffered back-to-back reverses in National League 2 East.

The Dons lost 29-48 at Old Alabanians last weekend with Thomas Bracegirdle, Malek Touilzak, Finn Hunt and Jake Cleet their try scorers.

Wimbledon are 10th in the 14-club division and host Bury St Edmunds tomorrow (3pm).


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