|Blackheath – 1st Team||9|
|20th Feb 16||3:00 pm|
Blackheath – 1st Team
Careless Club see game ripped away by clinical College
The majority of possession, territory, as well as a dominant scrum. Even the weather, which had thrown horizontal rain in the faces of Hartpury College in the first period, relented after the break to give Blackheath a helping hand.
But all to no avail, and after such an effort it was to be the softest of tries that proved the difference.
Holding on to a thin and hard-grafted 9-5 advantage in the 73rd minute, and in no apparent danger having secured line-out ball in their own twenty-two, Blackheath’s midfield suddenly found itself stripped of possession by Jamie Forrester, the Hartpury centre romping across the goal-line unopposed for one of the easiest tries he’ll ever score.
To compound the felony, a clumsy penalty five minutes later enabled full-back Gareth Thompson to add three points to his conversion, denying the visitors not only time, but the possibility of working an infringement to level the scores.
‘Tactically we were the more astute side,’ said Club backs’ coach Mike Friday. ‘We controlled the first half but came up against a resilient defence and that, with a lack of accuracy, robbed us of points.’
‘Interpretation at the breakdown area was also an issue, causing uncertainty and leading to errors.’
Indeed, Blackheath were penalised close to the Hartpury goal-line on no less than three occasions in the opening period having gone through the phases to good effect, once after Jack Walsh had made a lovely break down the short side following a scrum, and each side suffered with seeing ball turned over so frequently as to cause concern to both sets of coaches.
In a theme that came to underpin the match, the visitors twice saw possession ripped from their grasp in the maul after securing good attacking line-out ball, but at least Aston Croall, Kieron Scutt and an ever-youthful Desmond Brett gave the Club a decent platform from the set-scrum, as well as an 18th minute penalty for Freddie Gabbitass to give them the lead.
A second strike followed prior to the break for an illegal tackle, but 6-0 did little to reflect the one-sided nature of the first period and Blackheath found it equally hard to add to their tally in the second. A drive in front of the opposition uprights was held up in the 53rd minute and a wonderful break from Geoff Griffiths on the hour (the best move from either set of backs on a good surface but with tough overhead conditions) led to the inevitable turnover, but when their, relatively few. chances arose Hartpury were to prove the more clinical.
Devin Montgomery had thwarted the hosts once with a superb line-out steal five-metres out, but in the 62nd minute Hartpury number-eight Will Safe secured possession from another close-range throw for the hosts to drive open-side Dan Thomas across, reducing the arrears to a single point.
Gabbitass drilled a third penalty into the stiff wind to extend it back to four, but at the other end Thompson sent a beautifully weighted grubber scuttling towards the right corner, and although Blackheath secured their own ball at the throw, the errors followed to hand Hartpury the win.
‘We won a tight game at our place in November and credit to Hartpury who have edged this one today,’ continued Friday. ‘It’s obviously a disappointing way to lose, but I can’t fault our spirit, character and work ethic which is evident in all our performances at present.’
‘Richmond look out of sight with a 13-point advantage over us, but it can be closed and I believe this league is still wide open.’
Tries: Thomas, Forrester
Pens: Gabbitass 3