A superb performance, and deserved victory, to topple the National League One leaders and keep Blackheath’s challenge at the head of the table firmly alive.
In a tight game, on this bright but chilly afternoon at the delightful Paton Field, each side matched the other with three tries apiece, but the visitors, led by the inspirational Markus Burcham, captaining his club for the 100th time (99 of them consecutive), kept their noses in front, bar a five minute spell early in the second period and, when required, mounted a staunch defence to see themselves to a fourth successive win.
Indeed, Burcham had a fine match in the Club midfield and was heavily involved in the attack straight from the kick-off which demonstrated Blackheath’s intent and took the visitors close, only for Caldy to turn over ball at the first scrum. However, as a strong break from Henry Staff resulted in the outside-centre being held up across the goal-line, the ensuing set-piece saw ball spun across field for Jake Lloyd to pop ball inside for Nick Foster to score the opening try.
Elliot Clements-Hill added the conversion and a further three points as Caldy came up off-side, but a penalty at the other end saw the Cheshire side opt for a scrum from which tight-head Derek Salisbury drove across, reducing the hosts’ deficit to 10-7.
Great work again in the midfield by Burcham, allied to Neale Patrick making good yardage, enabled Mark Cooke to send Staff powering across in the left corner, despite a slight juggle with the ball, but Caldy responded again as phases of line-out ball opened up space for left-wing Luke Hibberd to cross, leaving the score 15-12 at the break in favour of the visitors.
In fact Caldy had their best period of the match around the interval, and as a needless forward pass put Blackheath under pressure, the hosts again benefitted from the option of a scrum from a penalty, this time hooker Ted Stagg driving over for the score.
With a two-point deficit, and Craig Dowsett in the sin-bin, Blackheath might have begun to flounder, but a Cooke penalty restored the lead before, on 54 minutes, the decisive moment came as Caldy allowed the ball to fall loose, and Foster pounced, the full-back sprinting 40-metres and under the uprights.
Another Cooke penalty struck the post, and two attacking line-outs which might have enabled the visitors to move out of sight went wayward in the stiff breeze, but as Caldy sought the try which would have given them two league points, the Club’s defence held firm and ensured the Blackheath win.
Next Saturday, Blackheath return to Well Hall to take on newly-promoted Sale FC. Kick-off is at the earlier time of 2.00 pm.
Tries: Salisbury, Hibberd, Stagg
Tries: Foster 2, Staff
Conv: Clements-Hill, Cooke
Pens: Clements-Hill, Cooke
|12||Markus Burcham (Capt)|