Rugby union: Old Elthamians’ Gavin Lach gives verdict on National 1 victory over Blackheath


Gavin Lach hailed his battling Elthamians side as they withstood a storming Blackheath fightback to clinch the South London derby spoils at Well Hall on Saturday.

After 55 minutes of this enthralling, closely-fought National 1 contest, OEs looked to be heading for a comfortable win after opening up a 31-13 lead, only for the home side to come roaring back with two tries in the final quarter to set up a dramatic finale.

The OEs’ director of rugby was a relieved man after watching his defence hold the ball up as Blackheath drove over the try-line in the 14th minute of injury time to secure the 31-25 win.

“It was a fantastic game of rugby – but games between the two clubs usually are,” Lach said. “At the end I thought we’d blown it because Blackheath had the momentum and we were down to 14 men. But full credit to the lads, defensively we were outstanding in the closing moments.”

“For the first hour, we played very well and were ruthless in punishing Blackheath mistakes.

“But even leading 31-13, I knew the game wasn’t over, not by a long stretch.

“I told our captain Hamish Barton that the next 10 minutes after we scored our fourth try were going to be crucial because Blackheath were going to throw everything at us. That’s exactly what happened.

“They are a very good side and they kept possession well, built through the phases and forced us into conceding a succession of silly penalties which enabled them to kick for position and put the pressure on us.

“ I’m not sure I had many nails left by the final whistle!”

The victory saw Elthamians climb above Blackheath in the table to fifth with a trip to second placed Rosslyn Park to come tomorrow.

“If we could end 2019 with a victory at Park, that would propel us into the promotion mix going into the new year,” said Lach.

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