Loughborough Students 35 Blackheath 32

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Club fail Student test

A fine spring afternoon, illuminating a 3G playing surface and two sides happy to throw the ball around, always suggested a high scoring contest. In that respect this match didn’t disappoint, producing as it did nine tries, the odd one falling the way of the losers which might suggest the ultimate difference between sides was the superior goal-kicking of Students’ left-wing Will Kaye.

True enough on the scoreboard, but it wouldn’t do justice to a Loughborough side who always looked the more dangerous, particularly from a back three who showed pace and invention with ball in hand, of which Blackheath were content to provide plenty.

The visitors came off second best in the battle of the set-piece too, more notably at the scrum where they conceded two penalties in a scoreless opening quarter, but a successful line-out on 24 minutes saw Tom Stradwick and Gregor Gillanders driving forward before Simon Whatling, again forced into service at scrum-half, dummy his way across on the blind-side for the first try.

Simon Whatling

Kaye responded quickly, however, with a penalty for a no-arms tackle and, straight from the re-start, the left-wing carved deep into Club territory before releasing scrum-half Jack Moates for a converted try.

Further good line-out ball saw play spread wide for Markus Burcham to send Jake Lloyd squeezing across in the right corner, but another opportunity was lost as the throw went astray and it was left to Kaye to add his second penalty, giving the Students a 13-10 lead at the break.

Within two minutes of the re-start Burcham had collected Mark Cooke’s deft kick over the defence to put Blackheath ahead once more but it was to be a short-lived advantage. Demonstrating all the skills that have brought him a place in the England Sevens line-up, full-back Will Edwards found a brilliant one-handed take before producing an equally impressive off-load for Moates to add his second try, and although Cooke levelled the score at 20-apiece with a penalty after a James Davies break had been illegally halted, the tide was turning increasingly in favour of the hosts.

Jamie Davies

Cooke recovered well after a Loughborough break from an intercept, but his hurried clearance could only find grateful Student hands and Edwards’ high ball bounced kindly into the hands of outside-centre Yiannis Loizias to cross for a try, again converted by the excellent Kaye.

Stradwick was equally impressive in Blackheath colours, and as the number-eight drove his pack forward once more, George Baker touched down for a fourth try, but as an increasing error count affected the visitors a Kaye penalty moved the hosts’ lead back up to five points.

George Baker

The decisive moment, however, came in the 76th minute as line-out ball sped across field and Kaye came off his wing to create the overlap, completing an individual haul of 20-points and pushing the lead beyond a converted score for the first time, and although that arrived as Tom Chapman showed good strength and pace to shrug of defenders and cross close to the uprights from 60-metres out (and claim a losing bonus point to add to the one for four-tries), it was too late to affect the result.

Next Saturday Blackheath host Birmingham Moseley. Kick-off at Well Hall is at 3.00 pm.

Loughborough Students

Tries: Moates 2, Loizias, Kaye
Conv: Kaye 3
Pens: Kaye 3

Blackheath

Tries: Whatling, Lloyd, Burcham, Baker, Chapman
Conv: Cooke 2
Pens: Cooke

Blackheath Team

15 Jamie Davies
14 Tom Chapman
13 Leo Fielding
12 Markus Burcham – Capt
11 Jake Lloyd
10 Mark Cooke
9 Simon Whatling

1 Aston Croall
2 Mike Perks
3 Kieron Scutt
4 Gregor Gillanders
5 Devin Montgomery
6 Freddie Owen
7 Jesse Liston
8 Tom Stradwick

16 George Baker
17 Bertie Haskins
18 Chris Walker
19 Alex Pickersgill
20 Sam Isaacs

Graham Cox

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