Old Albanian 36 Blackheath 10

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Pritchard prises Club apart

James Shanahan will likely have mixed views following this contest.

No doubt he will be delighted with this emphatic six-try victory from his current charges, but the Old Albanian Head Coach might now be sparing a thought towards the task ahead this summer when he picks up the reins at Well Hall of a side currently at a low ebb and without a win since they scrambled past Hull Ionians in mid-January.

For this match an all-too-familiar pattern was established within the first quarter. Enough possession to go through the phases, but resisted stubbornly until the mistake inevitably came, while at the other end all that Albanian blind-side Harry Bate had to do was pick up at the base of the ruck and scamper home from 25-metres for the first try.

George Baker

Leo Fielding responded quickly with a penalty after a deliberate knock-on, but as play returned to the opposite end, and ball sped across field from a line-out, Craig Dowsett, who frequently roamed from his native left-wing, fed James Pritchard in acres of space for a 12-3 lead.

Nevertheless, in the 29th minute Blackheath did manage to retain possession for long enough to claw their way back. As OA’s number-eight Brian Tuilagi headed off for ten minutes for interfering at the line-out, Devin Montgomery drove close, before Markus Burcham slipped over for a converted try, and at 12-10 the visitors were back in touch at the break.

Markus Burcham

But it was the last time Blackheath would trouble the scoreboard.

After some initial Club pressure after the re-start came to nothing, Pritchard won the race to ground his own well-executed grubber-kick along the right touch-line, and having announced his presence off the bench with an important line-out steal on the hour, loose forward Billy Johnson touched down at the base of the upright, following a quickly taken tap penalty from scrum-half Alex Gliksten, putting the hosts 16-points ahead and out of sight.

Pritchard pounced on a bouncing ball for the completion of the right-wing’s hat-trick on 74 minutes and, with resistance crumbling, Dowsett once again became provider as he put replacement back Joe Hearle away in space for the final score.

Blackheath will look for a positive response next Saturday when they return to Well Hall for the visit of Darlington Mowden Park. The kick-off for this match has been brought forward to 2.00 pm to avoid a clash with England v Scotland which will be screened live in the clubhouse following the completion of the National League One match.

Old Albanian

Tries: Bate, Pritchard 3, Johnson, Hearle
Conv: Palmer 3

Blackheath

Tries: Burcham
Conv: Fielding
Pens: Fielding

Blackheath Team

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

1 Aston Croall
2 Adam Kwasnicki
3 Kieron Scutt
4 Tom Stradwick
5 Devin Montgomery
6 Freddie Owen
7 Chris Walker
8 Jesse Liston

16 Mike Perks
17 George Baker
18 Gregor Gillanders
19 Alex Pickersgill
20 Jamie Davies

Graham Cox

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