U17s by Russell Ticehurst
With Xmas and New Year out of the way it was time for the U17’s to get back in to it on Sunday with a non league match v Ayelsford Bulls. There was a good turn out by the boys and with only one injury and one no show on the day the full squad was assembled.
Ayelsford are always a big and powerful side and with some additions to their squad this season that was certainly the case yesterday. The good news for Club was we were playing on Pitch 1 so with space to utilise and a playing surface as good as any, hopes were high.
Despite the visitors power and size advantage the scrum proved to be an equal contest which gave the hosts the confidence and ability to use the solid scrum platform as an attacking weapon. In fact the first of their tries came early on with a great initial drive by the pack a pick up from number eight and a simple pass to the winger who touched down in the corner, real text book stuff which pleased the Club coaches.
The second try was more about adventure and skill which saw inter play between backs and forwards breaking from half way moving the ball at pace between at least six support players ultimately culminating in a great score for Club.
As expected though Ayelsford then started to use their big forwards to good effect and immediately from the kick off they regained possession in the Club 22 and kept the ball for over 20 phases inching towards the line with every carry. But to their credit Blackheath did not give away penalties they kept pressing and tackling which eventually and sadly for Ayelsford resulted in a knock on just 5 metres out. Club cleared there lines and as their fitness began to tell gaps started to appear in the visitors defence which meant there were two more tries for Club before half time.
The second half was another great contest and there was some fabulous rugby on display from both side. Ayelsford showing how their big forwards on the charge can make serious in roads whilst clubs defence, disciplined all day, showed how being able to absorb that pressure without giving away penalties eventually gets its rewards.
Ayelsford got a thoroughly well deserved try in the second period but it was a day where the club U17’s seemed to relish the playing surface and spaces on Pitch 1 who opened up with three more tries in the final quarter to finish the day comfortably ahead.
As is often the case these days it was the disciplined defence that won the day and the boys ability to use the limited possession so effectively at almost every occasion.
Good luck to Ayelsford for the rest of their season.
U15s 1st XV by Jon Saunders
In an extremely hard-fought, competitive match Blackheath U15 A’s ran out winners over Aylesford Bulls U15 A’s 34-33. This fixture has been a long standing rivalry, with Aylesford claiming the Kent Cup for back-to back seasons before Blackheath toppled them from top spot last year. The game started at a frantic pace with Aylesford scoring within 4 minutes of the kick off using their large pack to full advantage and scoring from a lineout on the Blackheath 5m line and a subsequent rolling maul. B
lackheath however were not downhearted and stuck to their game plan of using the whole width of the pitch to stretch the game. This resulted in 4 tries before half time with some glorious interlinking, running rugby which won praise from all the supporters. Half time came with the score 22-12 to Blackheath.
The game continued in much the same vein: Blackheath using their 15 man running rugby to counteract the larger, more physical Aylesford side. Tries were scored by either side as the game ebbed and flowed: At 27-19 and 15 mins to go, Blackheath’s prop secured an inception pass and romped home from outside the Aylesford 22m to score beneath the posts, the conversion followed and at 34-19 it was game over? No! Aylesford mounted a furious assault in the last minutes of the match, scoring a try and then another with the final play of the match. Both were converted leaving the final score at 34-33.
Praise for both sides in what was an extremely entertaining and enjoyable match to watch.
U15s 2nd XV by Tim Brindle
The U15’s 2nd XV were also in action against Aylesford Bull, and the rivalry between the two 2nd XVs is no less than that of the 1sts, for they too have been playing each other year after year since they were U7s, and to date Club had never won against their opposition.
One of the issues that has affected the 2nd XV in recent matches is that they have got out of the blocks slowly, so that by the time they were playing with the intensity needed, they were already chasing the game. Not so today! It was very apparent in the warm up that the boys well and truly had their game heads on.
And so, they took to the field and whilst Aylesford enjoyed the lion’s share of possession at the start, Clubs line speed and impact in the tackle kept their opponents on the back foot, not only preventing them preventing them from getting over the gain line but in one passage of play a series of tackles pushed them back from Clubs half to Aylesford’s 22. And the ferocity of their defence when protecting their own line in a sustained period of pressure, to force a turnover, showed the coaches their mindset today.
Playing on a narrow pitch, there was little chance for the 2’s to exploit their pace out wide, so much of the battle was up front and in the centres, but great lines from the full back Archie kept cutting through the defence. Patient work and hard running lines eventually put Angus over the line, and Emanuel was stopped just a fraction short after a powerful, destructive run. 5-0 at half time.
A few changes were made at the break, to either give players a chance to play in their preferred position, or to ensure that all subs got a decent amount of game time.
Club got off to a bright start early in the 2nd half, when good control at half back enabled Fransean to exploit the small amount of space he had to run in the try, which was then converted. 12-0.
Aylesford struck back later in the half to make the score 12-5, and then somehow club managed to not to score from a dominant driving maul, created off a lineout. Something to work on in training.
The final score in what was 12-5.
All the Club players stood up and some of them played their best games ever. The victory was even more cherished given they were missing several key players, including their talismanic leader on the park, Reigan, and both their usual scrum halves. And credit to all the injured players who were their in force to support their mates.
A word on Aylesford, who are a quality side and could have (should have?) scored twice after great lines cut through the Blackheath lines, but to be denied by hard working scramble defence. Both teams were a credit to their Clubs having fought hard in a tough but fair match. Good luck for the rest of your season, and we look forward to playing you again soon.
U13s by Nick Stone
Blackheath U13s made the short trip to Old Alleynians to play an A and a B fixture. We knew we could expect a tough fixture. The As played very well but lost 15-30 but the fixture was much tighter that the score line suggests. Lots of positives to take away and also areas we can develop on. It was great to see the backs calling and trying their own moves, unfortunately sometimes failing at the last pass. Scorers were Finn Stafford, Sahib Dhaliwal and Raphael Huille.
The Bs had an equally hard game especially as OAs have a considerably bigger squad to choose from . The effort and application in the first half, which finished 10-15, was excellent with two textbook tries scored by the wingers, Ruben Gifford and Matthew Daniell, after going down the line. The boys tired in the second half eventually losing 10-50.
Next up Old Elthamians away – can we replicate the 1st XV?