Bishop’s last move means checkmate for Club
A stunning second half performance from Bishop’s Stortford saw the visitors overturn a nineteen point deficit to inflict a first home defeat of the campaign on Blackheath with the very last action of the game.
In their first season in domestic rugby’s third tier, the Hertfordshire side had impressed, pushing league-leaders Coventry close, and winning six of their nine matches to date to arrive at Well Hall in sixth position in the table, just one place behind their opposition.
However, in this contest the concession of three scores seemed to have put them on their way to a big defeat, until a try on the stroke of half-time turned the match in their favour and inspired them to a second period onslaught that eventually broke the dam and gave them a deserved victory.
It had all looked so easy for the hosts in the opening period, as they looked to consign the dismal effort at Esher the previous week to history.
Enjoying a strong set-piece platform, Geoff Griffiths crossed out wide after line-out ball was moved sweetly across field and Leo Fielding moved up to send the left-wing over. Joe Tarrant struck a fine touch-line conversion, before the Club fly-half added the second try, Fielding once again the provider after the full-back had neatly controlled a kick from the Stortford defence.
Harry Bate crashed over beneath the uprights to cap a dominant 35 minutes for Blackheath, but with the half moving to a close, the concession of two penalties (the second with the bonus of ten metres for ill-discipline) allowed Stortford their first sortie into the Club twenty-two, loose-head Will Roberts driving across to reduce the deficit to 19-7 at the break.
Had Jake Lloyd’s try at the start of the second period stood, Blackheath might have re-established control, but it was cancelled out for obstruction and would prove their last serious assault as the entire momentum shifted.
With hooker Dec Caulfield at the centre of most of their charges the visitors began to string phases together, and on 51 minutes quick handling had full-back Robert Duff sending Chris Smith racing over, the right-wing rounding under the posts for an easy conversion to reduce the gap to a mere five points.
Twice Blackheath turned over ball close to their own goal-line to thwart Stortford, but as it had done in the closing stages at Esher, the Club’s line-out faltered, handing territory back to the visitors.
A desperate attempt to intercept saw Fielding dispatched for a deliberate knock-on and with the scrum option chosen, the space became available for Duff to glide across, George Cullen’s conversion settling the match.
Blackheath make the journey to the Lancashire coast next Saturday to take on Fylde. Kick-off at Woodlands is at 3.00 pm.
The Club’s next home fixture is on 25th November when Loughborough Students will be the visitors at Well Hall.
Tries: Griffiths, Tarrant, Bate
Conv: Tarrant 2
Tries: Roberts, Smith, Duff
Conv: Cullen 3
15 Leo Fielding
14 Jake Lloyd
13 Markus Burcham (Capt)
12 Alex Pickersgill
11 Geoff Griffiths
10 Joe Tarrant
9 Josh Davies
1 Hayden King
2 Matt Miles
3 Danny Herriott
4 CJ Osazuwa
5 Tom Stradwick
6 Freddie Owen
7 Harry Bate
8 Tom Baldwin
16 Mike Perks
17 James Hallam
18 Hugh McCormick-Houston
19 Jack Walsh
20 Sam Evans