|Blackheath – 1st Team||21|
|30th Jan 16||3:00 pm||National League One||2015|
|108 Charlton Road, London SE7 7EY, UK|
Blackheath – 1st Team
Composed Club clamber over Ampthill
Patience and composure have been two of Blackheath’s trump cards this season, and both were required in abundance, as the Club fought back from a 12-0 deficit, and then again in the final moments as Ampthill produced a late charge, despite being reduced to 14-men.
Indeed, Ampthill were in complete control for the first half-hour, their set-scrum providing a platform for them to camp in Club territory and for Gavin Williams to cross twice and give them their lead.
On 17 minutes a five-metre set-piece under the Club uprights saw the scrum-half dive across from second phase ball, Elliot Clements-Hill adding a fine conversion from out wide given the blustery conditions. And as the visitors pressed forward again, a neat diagonal kick from fly-half Joe Tarrant to the left corner caught the hosts’ defence cold, and although Owain James got back to make the tackle, Williams was on hand to squeeze across for his second and a sizeable lead with less than half-an-hour played.
However, Blackheath’s line-out, which had briefly faltered, now began functioning smoothly enough to provide the possession to lift the siege, and as phases were strung together, two Freddie Gabbitass penalties in the closing moments of the half reduced the arrears to six points, but it was in the second period that the hosts took full command.
Aston Croall and Scott Wright were joined by Ben Cooper in the front-row, and as the pressure was turned on the Ampthill pack from both scrum and line-out, with the visitors guilty of repeatedly collapsing, Tom Stradwick burst away from a drive to rumble over and bring the Club to within a point.
On 58 minutes, Gabbitass landed the penalty which put the hosts ahead for the first time, and in the best move of the match, started as Tom Baldwin broke down the left flank, and continuing through numerous hands, Markus Burcham flipped the final pass to James for the try which, with Gabbitass adding the conversion, put Blackheath nine points clear.
Karl Braband’s upending of Baldwin at the re-start was clumsy rather than malicious, but having already been off for pulling down the maul during the build up to Stradwick’s try, the Ampthill second-row was now removed permanently from the play, and with the match now increasingly open, Blackheath looked to extend their advantage.
But as Jack Walsh continued in lively fashion to look for gaps, and Croall just failed to hang on to the final pass in another fine move (although the loose-head, who had an exceptional game, would have still had plenty to do to finish) the steam gradually ran out and it was depleted Ampthill who now came back into the reckoning.
Clements-Hill brought them within range with a penalty, but as Baldwin had done in an equally tight match in rural Bedfordshire back in October, now Gregor Gillanders rose to make a crucial line-out steal and the visitors had to settle for a losing bonus point from their late rally.
Next Saturday Blackheath travel to the Yorkshire Dales to take on Wharfedale. Kick-off at Threshfield is at 2.00 pm.
Tries: Stradwick, James
Pens: Gabbitass 3
Tries: Williams 2