Club succumb to double Ayrton
Volac Park has never held particularly fond memories for Blackheath, as their record of one victory in seven visits will testify, and their outlook won’t have greatly improved after this eighth trip.
The visitors led by ten points with fewer minutes remaining having at last made their territorial advantage count, only to see it squandered as two late strikes from replacement right-wing Mike Ayrton, on his 150th appearance in the colours of blood and sand, gave Cambridge, and their vociferous supporters, just reward for their passion and spirit.
Blackheath, nevertheless, will view it as a lost opportunity after twice eking out a significant lead only to see it wiped out.
The first of these came early as Cambridge persistently went off their feet for Leo Fielding to collect three points, and with their domination at the line-out, the Club soon drove Mike Perks across for an 8-0 lead on only twelve minutes.
However, if Cambridge, in their second reincarnation at Level Three, don’t currently possess quite the flair as when a certain James Shanahan was pulling the strings, they still look to an expansive style with the capability of striking from anywhere, and as Albert Portsmouth made the break down the left flank at the end of the first quarter, the wing found blind-side Louis Rawlings in support for the converted score.
They might have added a second had Jamie Davies not made a vital interception after centre James Ayrton (coincidentally celebrating his 100th appearance) had been put through by a lovely off-load, but while Blackheath went through the phases to little avail at the other end, another Cambridge breakaway was halted by obstruction, and fly-half Jack Green nudged his side two points clear at the break.
A Fielding penalty from a scrum infringement re-took the lead for the visitors after the break, and as Blackheath continued to press, a Cambridge clearance was gathered by Mark Cooke and, combining with fellow centre Markus Burcham, a mis-pass found Fielding out wide for the wing to score and extend the advantage to 16-10.
Cambridge only needed one attack to catch Blackheath off-side and Green reduce the deficit, but Simon Whatling put the Club within five-metres with an inch-perfect kick, and with Gregor Gillanders taken out on the first throw, and Green coming in at the side from the drive off the second, the penalty try was awarded for the visitors to lead 23-13 with nine minutes remaining.
However, almost straight from the re-start, sloppy defending from a Green chip forward saw the ball moved for Mike Ayrton to cross out wide. And as Cambridge came once more and hammered the Club’s goal-line in the dying moments (the visitors losing Perks to the sin-bin in the process), third-phase ball was again moved out to the right touchline for the wing to level the scores, Green’s missed conversion leaving honours even.
Next Saturday Blackheath host Rosslyn Park in the South London derby. Kick-off at Well Hall is at 3.00 pm.
Tries: Rawlings, Ayrton (Mike) 2
Pens: Green 2
Tries: Perks, Fielding, Penalty try
Pens: Fielding 2
15 Geoff Griffiths
14 Leo Fielding
13 Markus Burcham – Capt
12 Mark Cooke
11 Jake Lloyd
10 Simon Whatling
9 Jake Bedding
1 Aston Croall
2 Mike Perks
3 Kieron Scutt
4 Gregor Gillanders
5 Devin Montgomery
6 Freddie Owen
7 Chris Walker
8 Tom Baldwin
16 George Baker
17 Terry Read
18 Tom Stradwick
19 Tom Chapman
20 Jamie Davies