Four tries in the final quarter rescued Blackheath from a 10-point deficit and gave them an emphatic victory and a fitting end to skipper Markus Burcham’s 200th appearance in Club colours.
For most of the contest, however, it looked as if the almost-immaculate boot of Chris Johnson would hold sway, the Sale fly-half striking 19 of his side’s points, 14 of them in the opening period as he kicked four penalties and converted left-wing Jonty Rawcliffe’s tenth minute chip and chase try.
Blackheath nibbled away, thanks to Stef Liebenberg’s long pass out for Jake Lloyd to touch down out wide, followed by a 25th minute penalty try from a collapsed maul. Johnson kept Sale’s noses in front until, just prior to the break, Leo Fielding came up into the line to send Lloyd barging his way across for the wing’s second try of the match, and twelfth of the season, to level the score at 19-apiece.
Only for a short while though, as a converted try from Sale number-eight Jarad Williams on 47 minutes, followed by another Johnson penalty, moved the Cheshire side back into a strong lead.
However, Mark Cooke’s 58th minute penalty for a no-arms tackle, which also saw a yellow card for Sale prop Juan Rivas, was followed by Johnson’s only blemish as a long-range effort fell fractionally short, and suddenly the game turned in favour of the hosts.
Freddie Owen, who time and again rose to collect lineout ball and made frequent gains in the loose, capped a fine game by reaching across the goal-line, Sale players clinging to him, for the try which, with Cooke’s conversion, brought parity once more.
And as the vociferous crowd turned up the volume, a 68th minute overlap saw Henry Staff glide across, giving Blackheath the lead for the first time.
As a rattled Sale chased the game for the first time, ball fell loose for Burcham to hoof forward, Tom Burns collecting neatly with one arm and rolling over the try-line for a sixth score. And as resistance crumbled, the Club pack, dominant in the second period, demolished their counterparts to win a second penalty try to close out the game.
Next Saturday Blackheath travel to the outskirts of Reading to take on second in the table Rams. Kick off at Old Bath Road is at 2 pm.
Tries: Lloyd 2, Penalty try 2, Owen, Staff, Burns
Conv: Cooke 3
Tries: Rawcliffe, Williams
Conv: Johnson 5
Pens: Johnson 2
|12||.||Markus Burcham (Capt)|