Club fend off Fen men before stretching to victory
There was a period during the third quarter when this contest looked to be following a similar pattern to other recent Blackheath matches with a healthy lead coming under threat as numerous penalties handed territory and possession to the opposition.
This time, however, the Club managed to hold firm, seeing off the danger before turning the tide and adding the ten points that secured only their second victory at Volac Park in nine visits.
Indeed, Blackheath might have put more daylight between the two sides in the first period as, after Joe Tarrant and Jack Green had exchanged early penalties, they crossed the goal-line on four occasions, but Cambridge bodies got underneath Markus Burcham as he completed a delightful move on 18 minutes, and a score later in the period was cancelled out for foul play.
Nevertheless, Tom Stradwick’s line-out steal in the 23rd minute launched the move that saw Tom Baldwin put Hugh McCormick-Houston legally across after Jake Lloyd and Geoff Griffiths had made ground down the left flank.
Moments later, and despite the loss of open-side Louis Rawlings for upending Leo Fielding, Cambridge’s opposite flanker Jake McLoud was waved through from his own half of the field with ease in response, but Blackheath’s efficient ball retention and off-loading worked Baldwin over for a further try and a 17-8 lead at the break.
The energy and intensity of the first period deserted Blackheath after the re-start, as five penalties gave Cambridge the initiative but, although Baldwin was lost for ten minutes, the hosts could only muster three points from their pressure, and as the Club turned over possession close to their goal-line on the hour the tide turned once more.
A knock-on ruled out a try for a third time on 65 minutes, but Tarrant’s second penalty pushed the visitors’ advantage back to nine points, and as Harry Fry consistently hit his line-out targets, and Blackheath held the upper hand at the scrum, Harry Bate opened up the Cambridge defence for Josh Davies to score and put the result beyond doubt.
Cambridge rallied enough to drive second-row Rob Conquest over for late consolation, but Blackheath finished camped on the hosts’ goal-line, their efforts to search for a fourth try in the gathering gloom just falling short.
Next Saturday, the Club return to home soil for their first ever league encounter with Caldy. Kick off at Well Hall is at 3.00 pm.
Tries: McLoud, Conquest
Pens: Green 2
Tries: McCormick-Houston, Baldwin, Davies
Conv: Tarrant 3
Pens: Tarrant 2
|13||Markus Burcham (Capt)|