The Big Match: Rotherham v Blackheath

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We reach the halfway point of the season this weekend, with Blackheath’s final encounter of Act 1 being a trip to South Yorkshire and a place they haven’t been for many moons – Rotherham RFC (4th).

 

Gracing the Championship and, for a couple of seasons, the Premiership for the best part of 20 years, Roth succumbed to the increasing pressures of Level 2 rugby at the end of last season and were relegated.  Still, Level 2’s loss is Level 3’s gain with the team making a welcome addition to National One.

 

 

The League

 

National One as at Friday 14 December 2018

 

Psn Club Pld W D L F A PD TBP LBP Points
1 Old Elthamians 14 10 2 2 394 289 105 7 1 52
2 Blackheath 14 11 1 2 365 270 95 5 0 51
3 Rosslyn Park 14 9 1 4 367 325 42 8 1 47
4 Rotherham 14 9 0 5 372 302 70 7 2 45
5 Ampthill & District 14 8 1 5 362 260 102 7 4 45
6 Chinnor 14 7 2 5 372 355 17 7 4 43
7 Caldy 14 8 0 6 326 330 -4 6 3 41
8 Darlington Mowden Park 14 6 0 8 329 369 -40 7 3 34
9 Cambridge 14 6 1 7 281 281 0 2 5 33
10 Cinderford 14 6 1 7 274 325 -51 4 3 33
11 Sale FC 14 5 1 8 388 427 -39 6 4 32
12 Esher 14 6 0 8 289 368 -79 3 3 30
13 Plymouth Albion 14 5 0 9 266 309 -43 4 5 29
14 Birmingham Moseley 14 4 0 10 389 433 -44 6 6 28
15 Bishops Stortford 14 4 0 10 296 267 29 3 6 25
16 Loughborough Students 14 3 0 11 359 519 -160 8 4 24

 

 

 

 

 

Past Meetings and Recent Results

 

It’s been a while – these two haven’t met during the term of the current league structure.  We must blow the dust off the annals of the old Allied Dunbar Premiership 2 1998/99 season to find the last encounter.  Our hosts won both matches that season – a 19 – 29 away win at Rectory Field followed by a 46 – 3 victory at home.  Roth finished second that season behind Bristol.  Blackheath, on the other hand, finished 13th (of 14) and were relegated to Jewson NL 1 with Fylde.

 

More recently, Rotherham are 3 from 3 in their latest games this season, although there were a couple of tight tussles.  Towards the back end of November, they won 29 (5) – 33 (5) away at Caldy.  The following weekend, they had a fairly comfortable looking 20 (2) – 3 win at home to Cinderford.  Most recently, they visited Bishop’s Stortford last weekend, creeping past their hosts 20 (3) – 22 (3), climbing one place to fourth in the process.

 

Match Day Details

 

Kick off at Clifton Lane is at 2pm.  The man in the middle is Harry Walbaum, ably assisted by Gregg Dawson and Simon Lazenby.

 

Mother Nature is turning the volume up towards winter this weekend, with some potentially unpleasant weather on the way.  It doesn’t look as though it will get past 1 degree this evening.  It’ll be 0 overnight and rise to 1 again during the day.  It may start sunny, but is expected to cloud over with a threat of heavy rain and snow as the afternoon advances.  The sou’easterly wind will also pick up to around 20mph by kick off.  This could be one for the purists.

 

If you are not travelling to South Yorkshire this weekend, don’t forget the always excellent coverage on BBC Radio Kent (96.7 FM, 104.2 FM, 774 AM, DAB & On-line) which provides live score updates and reports, post-match interviews, plus a full round-up National League results for all Kent clubs around 5.45 pm.

 

 

Team News

 

Blackheath First XV V Rotherham  AWAY 15 December 2018

 

15. Joe TARRANT

14. Jake LLOYD

13. Alex PICKERSGILL

12. Markus BURCHAM (Capt)

11. Craig DOWSETT

10. Mark COOKE

9. Stef LIEBENBERG

1. Tom WILLIAMS

2. Mike PERKS

3. Danny HERRIOTT

4. Josh PETERS

5. Tom STRADWICK

6. Andrew DAISH

7. Freddie OWEN

8. Anders NILSSON

 

16. Harry FRY

17. Phil ACKUAKU

18. Billy YOUNG

19. Jack DALY

20. Elliott CLEMENTS-HILL

 

Around the Grounds

 

So what are the rest of ‘em up to?  Old Elthamians (1st) will look to follow up last weekend’ table topping away win at Cinderford with as the welcome Bishops Stortford (15th) to College Meadow.  Stortford’s last win was also away at Cinderford, 3 weeks ago, but they are likely to start as second favourite this weekend.

 

Sandwiched between Blackheath and Roth in the table, Rosslyn Park (3rd) hope to extend their 3 match winning run as they welcome Caldy (7th) to The Rock.  The Wirral side, although buoyed by their first win in three games against DMP last time out, will have to work hard if they are turn over the home side.  Ampthill (5th), fresh from a home win over Moseley last weekend, hit the M6 for the 150-odd mile trip to Sale (11th).  Their hosts are looking for their first win in 4 although current form and current weather probably favour the visitors.

 

Chinnor (6th) want to bounce back from last week’s loss and will fancy their chances at home to Esher (12th).  Despite 2 wins and 7 tries in their last 2 games, the Surrey side may find this one hard going.  Two sides struggling for form – Darlington Mowden Park (8th) and Cinderford (10th), having both lost their last three, meet at the Darlington Arena.  Indeed, scoring points has been difficult – the two sides have amassed a total of 26 points between them in their last 2 games.  That probably means tomorrow will be a try-fest.

 

Elsewhere, Cambridge (9th) travel to Birmingham Moseley (14th), both sides looking for wins after disappointing results last time out.  Mose are certainly capable of putting points on the board at Billesley Common and have every chance of turning over their higher placed guests.  Finally, although misfiring Plymouth Albion (13th) tucked a win under their belt at home to Sale last weekend, they face a long trip to Leicestershire this time out, to face Loughborough Students (16th).  The university side were pipped 17 – 14 at Esher last Saturday, and won at home against Chinnor the week before and must be targeting this for their fourth ‘W’ of the season.  The weather may favour the visitors’ pack but this could go either way.

 

 

 

Good luck Blackheath and Come On Youuuu Cluuuuuub!

 

Tim Brindle

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