As good as, if not better than, anything Blackheath have put together this season to date. Prior to this match, the Club’s best performances had come in the wet at Well Hall, and was based on a dominant display from the pack, but on this windy, but otherwise warm and golden afternoon, forward authority combined with power and pace from the back division to produce a most encouraging win.
Nevertheless, it was the forwards who drew first blood. Tom Williams and Danny Herriott had their opposite numbers in tatters throughout at the scrum, and as referee James Clarke awarded the first of many penalties at the set-piece, Mark Cooke put Blackheath 3-0 ahead on four minutes.
Lawrence Rayner, who kicked beautifully at goal (the Cambridge full-back’s only blemish a wind-assisted 60-metre effort early in the second period which fell fractionally wide), levelled the score following a high tackle, but on 21 minutes Blackheath pounced as, with the hosts losing possession, Nick Foster sent Jake Lloyd evading tackles on the right touchline for the first try.
Cooke converted well from the wide angle, and was on hand again five minutes later as Craig Dowsett and Williams made inroads, before the fly-half fed Henry Staff to put Lloyd across for his second score and a 15-3 advantage.
Loose ball was picked up by Mike Ayrton, who darted through a mass of bodies, before finding his open-side Jake McCloud steaming up at pace to race across for a try in response, but the Cambridge skipper and left-wing was soon following his hooker Alex Rayment to the sin-bin after a dangerous challenge on Foster and, against depleted numbers, Blackheath restored the twelve point lead, as Anders Nilsson touched-down at the base of a five-metre scrum.
Cambridge tried to respond again, but untidy line-out ball was mopped up by Harry Bate, and as Dowsett and the Club open-side moved play up-field against an opposition still consisting of only thirteen men, Foster broke through for Blackheath’s fourth try, the full-back converting himself, for a 29-10 lead at the break.
That advantage was extended further as ball was turned over at the re-start and numerous phases concluded with Dowsett sending Freddie Owen under the uprights, but with the wind now in their favour, Cambridge were not to let the visitors run away with the game.
Indeed, their best period of the match culminated on the hour with Rayner’s long pass sending Mike Ayrton over in space on the left flank. But as the hosts were again reduced in number, with number-eight Wade Schoeman dispatched for a no-arms tackle, Markus Burcham batted the ball out wide to Harry Fry who, in turn, released Jack Daly for Blackheath’s sixth try, dispelling any notion of a comeback, McCloud’s second try coming as mere consolation at the death.
Next Saturday, Blackheath return to home territory to take on Birmingham Moseley. Kick-off at Well Hall is at 3.00 pm.
Tries: McCloud 2, Ayrton (Mike)
Conv: Rayner 3
Tries: Lloyd 2, Nilsson, Foster, Owen, Daly
Conv: Cooke, Foster 3, Clements-Hill
|12||Markus Burcham (Capt)|