Last Sunday, 12th January, was a good day for our Club Juniors
U18 Match Report v Westcombe Park
By Russell Ticehurst
It was a sunny and dry start to the 2020 U18’s Kent Colts Cup competition for Blackheath but the heavy windy and extremely muddy conditions were surely going to play a part.
Drawn away to Westcombe Park was a fixture that had players and coaches licking their lips and a great way to see how far we’d come against one of Kent’s stronger Colt sides.
As with all Westcombe Park teams the pack was strong, well drilled and got on with their work with efficiency and confidence and with a couple of lively backs behind them it was going to be a tough day and so it proved.
As Club turned up the hill and into the strong wind for the second half having heard some strong words from the coaches the Club looked to take a hold on this tight game that was still sat at 0-0.
However yet another error from the kick off which led to a simple penalty it was the home side that went 3-0 up.
As the Club coaches had hoped, that score seemed ignite the spark and the determination and quality was suddenly in play. The front five were starting to dominate with Fin O’Sullivan carrying into the heart of the home side time and time again making yards and destroying the home side defensive shape and that gave Club back row trio of Dan Ademola, Nathaniel Ticehurst and Henry Dunne that bit more freedom to roam in the back field and start carrying at pace linking with the backs that were moving the ball with ease, even in the blustery conditions.
After some excellent play, where everyone seemed involved, it was Club No 8 Henry Dunne who benefited from the gaps now appearing, to storm through and go under the posts for a converted try 3-7.
For the next 25 minutes the ball was moving between Clubs backs and forwards with the ball being held up over the line on a number of occasions with the home side hanging on now to prevent the scoreboard getting away from them.
To their credit Westcombe Park defended as if their lives depended on it and Club just could not get the try that must come. But eventually it came after another held up attempt this time Club pack delivered such clean ball that after Dan Ademola explosive pick up and drive towards the line a simple pass to his right winger Hayden Riley who stormed over to close this tight game out.
Despite a desperate “last play” that went on for 6 minutes WP could not score anymore points and the match finished 3-12 to the visitors.
The Club move on to the second round in the coming weeks and will be at home to either Tonbridge Judaism’s or Beckenham.
Good luck to WP for the rest of the season.
U16 Match Report
By Jon Saunders
The Blackheath U16’s welcomed Cranbrook to Well Hall for their final game in their Kent Cup pool knowing that the winner would come top of the pool.
Playing on No.1 pitch, with a strong wind against them in the first half, Club knew it wold be a difficult first 35mins and so it proved. From the kick off we were under pressure and although the defence remained firm it was difficult to work our way out of our half. Unfortunately, strong forward play via rolling mauls or back exploiting space, was followed by careless ball retention, knock-ons or lack of protection at the rucks and the team were immediately back under pressure. A consistent theme of the match was our lateral running and poor execution, which time and time again placed us into difficulties. The physicality of both sides was exemplarily and following an accidental clash of heads, resulted in our hooker having to leave the field with a badly broken nose. Chances were created but again a knock on just before the line robbed us of the chance to score in the first half, while a toe in touch ruled out a try from the speedy Cranbrook winger. 0-0 at half time.
We knew that with the wind we would be able to exert much more pressure in on the Cranbrook side. Tactical kicking and a strong defence prevented Cranbrook from getting out of their half. Our formidable back row continued pressure at the breakdown and we were awarded a number of penalties for the opposition holding on. Unfortunately mistakes continued to inhibit our ability to convert pressure into points, and this sustained period of play resulted only in a penalty to us. 3-0. The conditions however, meant that we were again immediately on the attack. A long range penalty was missed to the left but we continued to press and from a scrum inside the Cranbrook 22, the Blackheath No.8 picked up and although pushed across the pitch was eventually able to barrel over. The conversion was added (10-0) and it looked that Blackheath would be able to easy away from a stubborn and resilient opposition. However Cranbrook mounted a sustained assault on our line, finally able to put together a period of interlinking play and score, however the wind made the conversion almost impossible: 10-5. From the kick off however we were back in the ascendency and although we were not able to put any more points on the board (a final penalty again just missing the left post) Cranbroook were unable to lift the siege and Blackheath scrapped a 10-5 win.
Congratulations to Cranbrook for a valiant effort and we await the conclusion of the other pool fixtures to learn our quarter final opponents.
There is no match report for the U17s however, together with a few U16s ‘playing up’ they came out 55-15 winners against Old Colfeians