|Blackheath – 1st Team||45|
|9th Apr 16||3:00 pm||National League One||2015|
|Woodlands Memorial Ground|
Blackheath – 1st Team
Fylde fold early to leave Club clear
When Fylde and Blackheath met at Rectory Field in December they produced eight tries in a 34-34 draw. Now, in the reverse fixture on this grey, cold and damp April afternoon on the Lancashire coast, the same two sides amassed no less than twelve, shared equally between them despite the disparity between their respective final tallies.
Statistics will show the difference as the 15-points courtesy of the boot of Freddie Gabbitass (and had the hosts had their own top scorer Chris Johnson available the gap may have been closer), but on a day where both sides’ kickers were off beam, it was the electric start from Blackheath that saw four tries and a 24-0 lead in 17 minutes that left a lively Fylde chasing the game.
Within two minutes Dave Allen was driven across from good early line-out ball, and as a Leo Fielding tackle soon after the restart dislodged Fylde possession, and Geoff Griffiths made the break through midfield, Freddie Owen put the open-side across for his second of the match and 15th of the season.
Jake Lloyd and Dan Hamilton made the breaks that enabled Anders Nilsson to reach out for a third score and the Club’s early scrum dominance claimed a penalty try as they demolished their Fylde counterparts on the host’s goal-line to give Blackheath their substantial lead.
Fylde have conceded in excess of three tries a match this season, but have scored at a similar rate, and now the Lancastrians proceeded to unlock the meanest defence in the league. Working off a solid line-out platform, and ever sharp out wide, a quick tap-penalty saw wing Oli Brennand across, and although Gabbitass struck the first of three successful penalties immediately after, some lovely handling and a fine off-load from lock Gareth Rawlings put centre Connor Wilkinson over for a second.
Ball off the top of a line-out saw blind-side Ben Vernon crash over for a third, and Blackheath needed a further successful strike from Gabbitass, after Hamilton made a fine pickup and Fylde came over the top, to keep themselves two clear scores ahead at the break at 30-15.
Gabbitass could have extended the advantage within one minute of the restart, only to hook the ball like a badly thrown frisbee on nearby Blackpool pleasure beach, but as Fylde collapsed the maul to give the visitors line-out ball close to the goal-line, Nilsson added to a fine performance at number-eight with his second try as the Club pack drove across.
Nevertheless, Scott Rawlings had now come on as replacement centre for Fylde and, making a nuisance of himself by bulldozing through the defence, set up an immediate response in the form of a try for wing Jordan Dorrington.
Gabbitass found his mark with another penalty, but as Gareth Rawlings was driven across from Fylde’s immaculate line-out to level the try count at five apiece in the 65th minute, the gap came down to 13-points.
But it was as close as the Lancastrians would get. As the game increasingly lost shape and pattern, Lloyd intercepted a poor pass on 73 minutes to sprint home from 40-metres for a converted try, and although Gareth Rawlings was driven over a second time, a final mis-hit shy at the uprights from Gabbitass in the final act of the contest was of little consequence.
Blackheath return to Rectory Field next Saturday as they take on Coventry in their penultimate home game of the season. Kick-off is at 3.00 pm.
Tries: Brennand, Wilkinson, Vernon, Dorrington, Rawlings (Gareth) 2
Tries: Allen 2, Nilsson 2, Penalty try, Lloyd
Conv: Gabbitass 3
Pens: Gabbitass 3
Referee: Steve Lee