Club rue missed chances.
In a game where the Club had 70% possession and 70% territory it was difficult to imagine how they could lose. However numerous handling errors and untimely penalties plus 3 lost attacking line outs undid a lot of energetic attacking play.
From the kick off Blackheath played with confidence if not always with accuracy but after 14 minutes territorial domination they still had not registered a score. Hence it was all the more galling when, from a mid- field penalty, the visitors took play to a line out inside Blackheath’s 22. Although the initial drive was stopped further powerful driving play was rewarded when the ball was moved wide and the try was touched down by Joss Linney and converted by Thomas Banks.
Blackheath resumed where they had left off and this time after 19 minutes the score came via the strong carrying of Tom Stradwick who rounded off a multi phased attack. Leo Fielding went narrowly wide with the conversion and so it remained 5-7 until halftime. This, despite the Club engineering several attacking opportunities but failing to score due to a lack of clinical finishing and last ditch defence.
It’s not just about the mistakes made or the penalties conceded, these will happen in such a physically contested sport; it’s about creating opportunities and then having the skill and technique to execute properly and turn the opportunities into scores.
The second half started much brighter for Bishop’s Stortford who enjoyed a spell of possession not experienced in the first half. Having weathered this, the hosts regained the ascendancy and after a line out drive was illegally pulled down the Club were awarded a penalty try and the offender, Thomas McCrone was yellow carded and Blackheath took a 12-7 lead.
As the visitors gained a little more possession and territory they attacked from a line out and from the ensuing play close to the line, an offside penalty was taken quickly and Baxter Wilson crashed over from short range with Banks adding the 2 points to put Bishop’s Stortford ahead, 12-14.
With 15 minutes still to play the home spectators urged the team on to secure the winning score but as another attack broke down on half way, Linney snatched possession and broke clear to feed Reuben Bird-Tulloch who beat the cover to score near the posts and Banks sealed a wonderful victory for the away team and their supporters. In the remaining few minutes the Club continued to press for at least a losing bonus point but, as for most of the game, the opposition defence held firm.
By Des Diamond
It was pleasing to see a good crowd (627) at the game; third best on the day, surpassed only by a huge 3,556 at Plymouth and an equally amazing 982 at Ampthill who sneaked to victory v Rosslyn Park 21-20 and will surely now go on to win the league.
Blackheath: Fielding, Lloyd, Staff, Burcham, Ransom, Cooke, Daly, Williams, Fry, Herriott, Stradwick, Daish, Owens, Bate, Nilsson.
Replacements: Perks, Davis, Leonard, Liebenberg, Tarrant.