Ten tries in total, and seven in favour of the hosts, in an excellent performance that takes Blackheath to the helm of National League One as domestic rugby takes a week’s break.
On a bright but breezy November afternoon, the Club gained the perfect start as, following Steff Liebenberg’s box kick, loose ball popped into the grateful hands of Henry Staff, and although the outside-centre was tap-tackled short, support arrived in the form of Jake Lloyd, the right-wing stretching out for the first try with less than two minutes played.
Indiscipline allowed the line-out platform for Sale number-eight Ryan Parkinson to drive over in response, but a fine break in midfield from Nick Foster opened up the Cheshire side’s defence and Josh Peters’ flipped pass found Markus Burcham on the short side for the inside-centre to score on his 100th consecutive match as captain.
Foster added a try of his own soon after as Peters took line-out ball and Liebenberg marshalled Blackheath through the phases in the opposition twenty-two, and with Mark Cooke striking a second conversion the hosts held a 19-7 lead on 23 minutes.
A lovely Chris Johnson pass found Jonty Rawcliffe coming up from full-back, setting the attack from Sale skipper and blind-side Andrew Hughes went over, and with Johnson adding a penalty to his two conversions the lead was cut to just two points.
However, with a growing ascendancy at the set-piece Blackheath gained a foothold in front of the Sale posts as half-time approached, and as Liebenberg’s long pass bounced kindly for Craig Dowsett, the wing crashed over out wide to give the Club a 24-17 advantage at the break.
Lack of control following a five-metre scrum denied Blackheath on 50 minutes, but robust tackling and two line-out steals from the outstanding Peters kept the pressure up enough for Freddie Owen to cross from line-out ball on the hour.
Lloyd squeezed over for his second score, Jack Daly moving play blind, as the pack drove forward off line-out ball. And as Foster dummied his way down the left flank, Alex Pickersgill, Burcham and Daly combined for Neale Patrick to dive over, before Sale gained consolation with replacement back-row Tom Ailes crossing from a five-metre scrum in the final play.
Blackheath’s next game sees them travel to Cinderford in the Forest of Dean in a fortnight before they return to Well Hall for the visit of Loughborough Students on 24th November.
Tries: Lloyd 2, Burcham, Foster, Dowsett, Owen, Patrick
Conv: Cooke 3
Tries: Parkinson, Hughes, Ailes
Conv: Johnson 3
|12||Markus Burcham (Capt)|