Opening day bonus for Blackheath
Not the most well-oiled performance but Blackheath will, nevertheless, be pleased with an opening day bonus point win from a venue where they’ve frequently come unstuck.
Indeed, prior to this game, Molesey Road had seen just two Blackheath wins in ten visits, and was the setting where the Club’s promising start to their 2017/18 campaign came to a juddering halt last autumn, but despite some frantic play at times, and a wobbly set-piece in the opening period, the visitors enjoyed enough domination to see themselves through to a fine win.
Elliot Clements-Hill, one of eight debutants in the Club side, punished Esher’s early indiscipline with three well-struck penalties to put the visitors 9-0 within 27 minutes before the Surrey side, featuring a matching number of new recruits (including former Clubman Jack Walsh at scrum-half), responded with their only points of the match as fly-half Owen Waters’ long pass found blind-side Rob Dudley to cross following untidy line-out ball.
However, having already struck from long range, Clements-Hill found a fourth effort from near the right touch-line, the full-back then adding a much easier conversion, after EEEs fell asleep at the ruck and Tom Stradwick picked up, for Leo Fielding to make further ground and send Craig Dowsett under the uprights for a 19-7 interval lead.
The third quarter remained scoreless, despite the hosts’ loss of second-row Graham Logan to the sin-bin, but a period of Esher pressure was finally broken as Tom Baldwin muscled his way through the midfield, Jake Lloyd made further ground, and with Blackheath keeping the ball alive, Tom Williams wrestled his way over the goal-line to score.
Ball from line-out, which had functioned poorly in the opening half, saw the Club pack with useful shove and Clements-Hill cross in the left corner, giving the former Bedford Blues man a total points haul of 21 for the afternoon, before a somewhat fortuitous fumble in the Esher defence gifted possession to Joe Tarrant, the fly-half nipping in for the bonus point try at the death.
Next Saturday Blackheath host local rivals Old Elthamian, who themselves enjoyed an excellent opening day of the season, holding on to beat Rotherham Titans 34-33 at Clifton Lane.
Kick-off at Well Hall is at 3.00 pm.
Tries: Dowsett, Williams, Clements-Hill, Tarrant
Conv: Clements-Hill 2
Pens: Clements-Hill 4
|12||Markus Burcham (Capt)|