Rugby union: Ed Taylor set to find Blackheath captaincy more testing than his immediate predecessors


Ed Taylor is only the fourth player to be appointed as captain of Blackheath since 2005 – but in many ways his task looks to be far more onerous.

Taylor follows in the footsteps of Markus Burcham and Tom Bason, his immediate predecessors who shared 14 seasons between them.

The Covid-enforced lay off has seen the departure of no fewer than 16 key members of Blackheath’s playing squad, a couple of whom would have been strong captaincy candidates themselves. On the plus side the Club has seen a large influx of players which presents quite a challenge for the new skipper, as demonstrated by frustratingly narrow defeats in the first two National One outings against Cinderford (18-15) and Moseley (22-20).

“We’re still getting to know each other,” said the second-row forward, inset.

“It’ll take a while to gel and find our best combinations, but we’re growing as a team with every training session.”

Shropshire-born Taylor’s first experience of captaincy came with Old Swinford Hospital School in Stourbridge (which included an appearance in the 2012 Daily Mail U18 Cup final, losing narrowly 15-8 to Dulwich College), and continued with England U18 and U19 level, as well as Worcester Warriors U18.

While with the Premiership club’s academy, he had stints with Luctonians and Rotherham before moving to Loughborough University, making 76 National League appearances, and captaining the Students in his final year.

Joining Bedford Blues in 2016, Taylor made more than 80 appearances, while completing a masters in real estate and planning, and starting a part-time career in development.

“My plan was always to step back from top level rugby at the age of 27 to focus on my career while continuing to play as a semi-professional, and last year that moment arrived,” he said.

“Having moved close to the area and having it on my doorstep, the decision to join Blackheath was something of a no-brainer. It has an outstanding history and a reputation for looking after its players.”

Blackheath aim for a first win of the campaign tomorrow as they welcome Darlington Mowden Park to Well Hall.

It is the first of back-to-back home games, with Caldy arriving on September 25.

Wimbledon maintained their 100 per cent start in the London and SE Premier League with a 29-7 home win over Maidenhead last weekend.

Dave Wayman and Ollie Kitto both scored tries as the Dons led 17-0 at the interval.

Tom Milner went over early in the second half and added another before a fine conversion by James Moffat.

Wimbledon are at Hertford tomorrow.


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