Mighty Monty leads the way as Club make it seven
Not quite the average of 61 points these two sides have produced in previous meetings, but a majority of the Well Hall crowd will be satisfied with 58, including nine tries, and all coming after a scoreless opening quarter where Blackheath were pinned in their own twenty-two.
Nevertheless, once the game opened up it stayed open, with both sides capable of striking from almost anywhere, and although Blackheath held sway for the most part, Cambridge never allowed them to relax.
Had Cambridge taken the points available from their early pressure, created mainly through Blackheath mistakes, they may have stolen a march, but opting for territory they met a resolute defence, and eventually coughed up the error that put them behind. As ball fell loose 20-metres from the Club’s goal-line in the 24th minute, Tom Baldwin orchestrated the break up field which resulted in Leo Fielding crossing for the first try.
Cambridge responded immediately as a line-out on half-way, and some poor defence, enabled blind-side Tom Nutley to put outside-centre Matt Hema over, but it was then that Blackheath took control with two rapid scores.
From a quickly taken throw in Club territory, Markus Burcham shrugged off tacklers down the right flank before off-loading to Tom Chapman to score and then, moments later, another move from deep, involving some great handling from numerous players, saw Dan George twisting over the goal-line for the hooker’s seventh try of the season.
Fielding added a penalty for off-side, before Cambridge again responded in typical fashion, keeping the ball alive with some great support play until the opposition ran out of defenders and Nutley squeezed in at the corner for a score of 20-12 at the break.
Ironically though, in a game with so much expansive play, it was Blackheath’s total dominance at the scrum that proved key and led to the hosts’ fourth try. Two penalties gained at the set-piece soon after the re-start gave the Club field position to drive Terry Read across, but again a significant advantage was hauled back to just eight points as a lovely inside ball from Stef Liebenberg off line-out ball sent wing Laurence Hutchinson over for the visitors.
Indeed, Cambridge’s cause might have been better served had their captain and scrum-half opted for the easy three points on offer soon after but, led by the exceptional Devin Montgomery who was at every breakdown, a huge defensive effort resisted the pressure which came from a speculative tap-penalty move.
Back up to the half-way line in the 67th minute, Montgomery and second-row colleague Gregor Gillanders powered forward Blackheath’s set-piece once again and, as ball was played down the short side, Fielding released Chapman for the decisive score, left-wing Chris Leathem’s breakaway effort at the death providing the consolation of a four-try bonus for Cambridge at the very death.
Next Saturday Blackheath make the short journey to Priory Lane in Roehampton for their meeting with Rosslyn Park, before returning to Well Hall on 5th November for the visit of Old Albanian. Both matches kick off at 3.00 pm.
Tries: Fielding, Chapman 2, George, Read
Conv: Cooke, Fielding 2
Tries: Hema, Nutley, Hutchinson, Leatham
Conv: Green 2
15 Leo Fielding
14 Geoff Griffiths
13 Markus Burcham – Capt
12 Mark Cooke
11 Tom Chapman
10 Simon Whatling
9 Sam Eydmann
1 Aston Croall
2 Dan George
3 Terry Read
4 Gregor Gillanders
5 Devin Montgomery
6 Freddie Owen
7 Tom Baldwin
8 Anders Nilsson
16 Harry Fry
17 Kieron Scutt
18 Tom Stradwick
19 Jake Lloyd
20 Jamie Davies