A number of other Club sides were in action last weekend, and here’s the write ups on some of the games that took place on Sunday. There were wins for the Womens 1st Xv and U15’s 1st XV, and a sterling performance by the U13’s
Women’s 1st XV By Jen Evans
It was a long journey up to Newcastle this weekend for the first team who faced Novocastrians in the second round of the Championship Cup. Novos, who had secured fourth place in Championship North with their last game of the season, were a side not to be underestimated at their home ground.
As captain Frankie Newby got things under way at the kick off, we soon realised we were in for a hard slog of a game. Countless opportunities for Blackheath went unrewarded with numerous knock-ons leading to defensive scrums for Club. Even if we do love a scrum, this was all a bit much.
Hard work in the defensive line from centre Becky Watling, and a chop tackle from Jen Evans kept Novos away from the try line. However, too many errors from Club eventually led to a penalty. 3-0 to Novos, a score which remained when the half time whistle blew.
And it was into the changing rooms, for a chat which I will paraphrase as ‘We didn’t travel all this way to not play our best.’ A revived and reenergised Club ran back onto the pitch, ready to take it to them in the second half.
Our defence was better, our attack was better, but still that score was evading us. Despite numerous turnovers from flanker Charlotte Gramont and superb control from number 9 Julia Mason, we just couldn’t capitalise. And then the magic happened. Lightning fast reactions from Captain Frankie allowed her to run in a try from 30 metres out which left many on the sidelines completely perplexed. Lyndsay Whitley easily slotted the conversion and club went ahead 3-7.
And that would be the final score of the match. Novos threatened the try line on a couple of occasions, but strong counterattack from fullback Elaine Jaxon, wing Rachel Parmeter and replacement wing Mimi Smith and somewhat surprisingly prop Bex Carter kept them out.
All in all, a good day out for Club and now we move on to face Barnsley away on the 17th March.
Forward of the match: Bex Carter
Back of the match: Julia Mason
U15s 1st XV By Jon Saunders
The Kent Cup semi-final between Blackheath U15 1st XV and Aylesford U15 A’s proved to be the classic encounter everybody expected. This has been a longstanding rivalry, with Club coming out on top in the last couple of matches including the Kent Cup Final last year, but previous to that Aylesford had enjoyed a long run of success against us and were Kent Champions for the three previous years.
In difficult conditions, windy and damp, Club kicked off and immediately put Aylesford under pressure. Fast line speed and powerful, dominant tackling prevented Aylesford from executing their exit strategy and from a pin-point cross field kick by Blackheath’s fly half into the arms of our outside centre, Club registered the first try of the match. Despite the windy conditions which made place kicking extremely difficult, Blackheath’s full back step up and slotted the conversion from out wide. 7-0.
Club were soon back on the offensive. Good tactical kicking from Blackheath kept Aylesford from gaining any territory and Club continued to pressurise the Aylesford defence. Although Club created chances, in the conditions, the final ball didn’t stick and it was not until the 20th minute that we registered another score. A poor kick from Aylesford allowed us to manipulate the ball into the hands of our winger and with that extra bit of width the 1st XV pitch at Well Hall gives us, our winger touched down in the corner. From the side line the kick shaved the post but the wrong side. 12-0
While Aylesford continued to use their bigger pack to pick and drive and batter holes around the ruck, Club tried to play a more expansive game. Defence around the ruck from Blackheath was magnificent and prevented Aylesford from gaining any momentum. Our smaller pack was however dominant in the scrum: our better technique negating the large bulk of the Aylesford pack. However, in the difficult conditions our line out struggled and as the match progressed this proved to be a fruitful area for Aylesford to exploit. However, Club was able to get to half-time 12-0 ahead.
From the restart Aylesford put us under immediate pressure. Penalties resulted in a kick to the corner and allowed Aylesford to use their powerful rolling maul. Another penalty and a quick tap and they were over. The conversion wasn’t successful but Aylesford were back in the match: 12-5. Club rallied. Some tactical kicking and then a penalty to the corner allowed us to set up our own rolling maul from a line out and this time our prop (playing 2nd row at the time) crashed over from 2m. In worsening conditions our full back couldn’t add the extras but our comfortable margin had been restored: 17-5.
The match then swung to Aylesford again. A yellow card for our winger gave Aylesford a numerical advantage and they tried to exploit the space. Only a try saving tackle by our full back prevent a score but significantly our flankers were able to force Aylesford to hold on and from the resulting penalty we cleared our lines. Aylesford continued to attack, wave after wave crashing against the solid red and black line. Eventually the pressure force a score but again Aylesford couldn’t convert. 17-10.
With the clock ticking down, Blackheath reasserted control of the game, keeping Aylesford pinned into their own half. Finally our back row were able to force another penalty and Club’s full back, from 35m against the wind, kicked the penalty. The final whistle went and Club had secured victory 20-10.
We will face another of our long standing rivals in the final: Canterbury who beat OA’s 24-17. The management of the U15’s would like to thank all the parents and boys that came and supported the team on Sunday. It was good to see a number of the U15’s 2XV in attendance and they of course have their own Cup Final to look forward to on the 7 April as well. Good luck to both teams!
U13s By Nick Stone
On Sunday we had the Kent U13s Waterfall Day II. Our Blackheath team turned out but we also had players representing a Barbarian team along with players from Southwark Tigers and Old Elthamians.
The Blackheath team had won their pool on Day I so had a tough pool with Bromley and Sevenoaks, who rumour has it are undefeated for a couple of years.
Starting against Bromley the team went into a quick lead with a try from Edward. Across the whole match it was a good performance especially with players putting themselves on the line to keep them out in the latter stages of the game. The game ended one try a piece.
Next up was the unenviable task of playing Sevenoaks. There was a good shift from the forwards who matched Sevenoaks up front but the opposition had some exceptional backs. We did get a penalty try but lost 35-5. Full credit to the boys for who all kept going against the best team in Kent. Bromley also lost by the same score against Sevenoaks so we wait with bated breath the final outcome of who came 2nd and 3rd.
The Barbarians were in a pool of teams that finished third on Day I. We had equal numbers of players from each of the three teams that meant a big squad. Starting against Aylesford Bs the team quickly went into a 15-0 lead before being pegged back to 15-15. A late winning try resulted in a 20-15 win. We then played Cranbrook Bs in a very competitive game which after ended 10-10. We used over 20 players during the day including the eight from Southwark Tigers in their first ever competitive festival. Special thanks to the Aylesford and Cranbrook players who fully took part in the experience. To see two opposition players commiserate with one of the Barbarian players when he ran from inside his own 22 only to drop the ball 2 metres from the line proved that rugby was the winner. Given the results the Barbarians actually won their pool. We can’t wait for Waterfall Day III when even more boys will get the experience to play in a Barbarian team! Well done to Sam, Sharel, Ruben, Rafi, Julian, Teddy and Tommy. Sam and Ruben both scored a try each.